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Scientific Direction: Dr. Daniele Petrella, Ph.D.
Starting year: 2021

"Jōmon Sea: Navigation in the Origins of Japan" is a Maritime Archaeology Project that aims to contribute to the still incomplete knowledge of the Japanese Neolithic, the so-called Jōmon Period (ca. 9,500 BC - ca. 1000 BC), through a different and new key of interpretation: the relationship of the populations with the sea and the importance that waterways assumed in transport, both inland and outward, and the role they played in the "exchange" of goods, people and information.

It is divided into three phases, each of which will explore the relationships between the archipelago's peoples and those from outside in specific and fundamental geographical areas: JS1 will focus on understanding the nature of the first relationships with Korea and how these influenced the evolution of the first Jōmon cultures; JS2, on the other hand, will deal with the relationships with the cultures of the north (coming from Siberia and North America via the Hokkaidō), while JS3 will address the study of internal contacts between different areas of the country.

The core of the project, therefore, is the study of bays and coastal settlements, their use and the selection methods that were applied during the Neolithic period. All this is intended to lead to the creation of a reference model that can guide the study of bays along all the country's coastlines.

A team of experts, consisting of land and underwater archaeologists, is developing the necessary data collection for this purpose, thanks also to the use of specific technologies such as drones with LiDar systems, underwater sonars, and satellite readings.

Everything is being collated in a GIS that will allow a syncretic reading on a regional scale aimed at understanding the dynamics that led to the development of the first Jōmon societies.

The project is conducted in collaboration with the Tōkyō University of Marine Science and Technology and the Asian Research Institute of Underwater Archaeology (ARIUA).

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