(ca 10,000 BC - ca 300 BC). Prehistoric period during which the peoples of Japan followed a hunting and gathering way of life. It was preceded by the Paleolithic period (pre-10,000 BC), from which it is distinguished by the presence of pottery, and was followed by the Yayoi period (ca 300 BC - ca 300 AD), the distinguishing characteristics of which are the use of metals and wet-rice cultivation. The world's oldest known pottery was created by Jōmon peoples and was excavated from Fukui Cave and other sites in southern Japan. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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