Temporal Changes in the Obsidian Procurement and Reduction Strategy at the Upper Paleolithic Site of Minamimachi-2, Hokkaido (Japan): An approach by X

Masami Izuho, Jeffrey R. Ferguson, Noriyoshi Oda, Yuichi Nakazawa, Fumito Akai, Toshiro Yamahara


10.5817/CZ.MUNI.M210-7781-2015-20

IZUHO, Masami, FERGUSON, R. Jeffrey, ODA, Noriyoshi, NAKAZAWA, Yuichi, AKAI, Fumito and YAMAHARA, Toshiro. Temporal Changes in the Obsidian Procurement and Reduction Strategy at the Upper Paleolithic Site of Minamimachi-2, Hokkaido (Japan): An approach by XRF. In: Sandra SÁZELOVÁ, Martin NOVÁK and Alena MIZEROVÁ (eds.). Forgotten times and spaces: New perspectives in paleoanthropological, paleoetnological and archeological studies. 1st Edition. Brno: Institute of Archeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences; Masaryk University, 2015, pp. 258-290. ISBN 978-80-7524-000-2; 978-80-210-7781-2. DOI: 10.5817/CZ.MUNI.M210-7781-2015-20.


Abstract

Here we discuss temporal changes in the obsidian procurement and reduction strategy of the Lower and the Upper assemblages at the Upper Paleolithic Site of Minamimachi-2, through refitting analysis and the determination of the reduction sequences of the lithic assemblages, and the analysis of the artifacts by pXRF to determine the geologic sources. Result shows that obsidian sources utilized for the two assemblages in the Minamimachi-2 site are clearly different. In the lower assemblage, obsidian was procured as local cobbles from Tokachi-Mitsumata while the other assigned samples were acquired from a distant or hyper distant locality (Tokachi-Shikaribetsu, Shirataki-Akaishiyama, Rubeshibe, and perhaps the primary locality of Tokachi-Mitsumata). Side scrapers and endscrapers were made of obsidian flakes procured at various loci from distant to local, likely suggesting that these expedient tools were made with local raw materials as the foragers traveled from one short-term camp to another rather than imported from distant sources to the long term residential locality of Minamimachi-2. In the upper assemblages, on the other hand, obsidian raw materials were transported from distant or hyper distant localities includes Shirataki-Akaishiyama, while small amounts of obsidian were supplied from the local or distant locality of Tokachi-Mitsumata. Although we need further analysis by NAA to confirm our source assignments to rule out geochemically similar sources of Akaigawa, Monbetsu, or Kushiro-Shitakara which visible characteristics are clearly different among the four sources, the kind of integration of geochemical analysis and lithic reduction sequence analysis discussed in this chapter is essential to understanding how hunter-gatherer lithic procurement was related to the production and use of tools and how it changed over time.

Keywords

Lithic procurement, obsidian, geochronology, Upper Paleolithic, Japan

Résumé

Les récents progrès des recherches sur le Paléolithique supérieur d’Hokkaido dans le nord du Japon ont été rendus possibles par l’accumulation de données géochronologiques fiables et d’analyses comportementales des pratiques de taille. Ces nouvelles données visaient à répondre à trois questions essentielles pour l’Asie du Nord-Est : la première porte sur le timing, les processus et les mécanismes d’émergence de l’Homme moderne (aussi bien du point de vue anatomique que comportemental), la deuxième concerne la possibilité d’un exode humain en provenance de Sibérie durant le DMG (peut-être entre 24,000–20,000 ans cal. BP) et la troisième traite de la technologie micro-lamellaire nouvellement développée comme adaptation à l’environnement froid et rigoureux de la zone artique et de son rôle dans la dispersion humaine dans les Amériques. En plus de ces récents résultats, l’étude de la composition des obsidiennes d’Hokkaido a largement avancée, notamment grâce aux progrès des études et caractérisations des sources de matière première. Ces progrès ont conduit à une meilleure compréhension des stratégies d’approvisionnements et d’économie des matériaux et des débitages. Cette approche systématique devrait jouer un rôle important aussi bien dans l’avancement des études sur le Paléolithique supérieur local de l’Asie du Nord-Est que dans le développement de nouvelles méthodes visant à reconstruire les stratégies d’approvisionnement en matières premières des chasseurs-cueilleurs. Ces nouvelles méthodes pourront sans doute être applicables à d’autres régions du globe. Cet article présente une description du site de Minamimachi-2, un résumé des procédés de débitage identifiés sur le gisement, une détermination géologique des sources d’obsidienne utilisée pour la confection des artefacts (par spectométrie de fluorescence – pXRF –), et enfin un examen des corrélations que l’on peut établir entre les sources de matière première et les stratégies de débitage. En conclusion nous nous intéressons à comment l’approvisionnement lithique des chasseurs-cueilleurs était relié tant aux méthodes de production qu’à l’usage des produits. Ce qui éclaire également la question des changements qui affectèrent ces derniers au fil du temps.

Zusammenfassung

Neueste Fortschritte der Forschungen zum Jungpaläolithikum in Hokkaido – Nordjapan – basieren auf einer Kombination von gesicherten geochronologischen Daten und Analysen am Silexmaterial unter dem Gesichtspunkt des menschlichen Verhaltens um drei Hauptfragen in Nordostasien zu begegnen wie: dem Zeitpunkt, den Abläufen und Mechanismen des Auftretens des sowohl anatomisch als auch verhaltensmäßig modernen Menschen, der Möglichkeit der Herkunft aus Sibirien während des letzten Kältemaximums der Eiszeit – ungefähr zwischen 24.000–20.000 cal yr BP – und die Rolle der neuentwickelten Mikroklingentechnologie bei der Anpassung der Menschen an eine kalte und raue Umwelt der arktischen Zone sowie dessen Rolle bei der Ausbreitung der Menschen nach Amerika. Zusätzlich hat die Kombination dieser Methoden am Obsidian von Hokkaido zu detaillierten Ergebnissen hinsichtlich der Rohmaterialbeschaffung beim Obsidian und der Abbautechniken geführt, besonders durch den Einsatz systematischer Studien zur Charakteristik der Rohmaterialquellen. Von diesem systematischen Ansatz wird erwartet, dass er eine wichtige Rolle in zweierlei Hinsicht spielen könnte: in einem Fortschritt der paläolithischen Forschung in Nordostasien und in einer methodologischen Weiterentwicklung bei der Rekonstruktion von Rohmaterialversorgungsnetzen von Jägern und Sammlern, die auch auf andere Regionen anwendbar sind. Diese Arbeit besteht aus einer Beschreibung der Fundstelle Minamimachi – 2, einer Zusammenfassung der Abbausequenzen der Minamimachi – 2 Fundensembles, einer Zuweisung der Artefakte zu einer bestimmten Obsidianrohmaterialquelle mittels pXRF und einer Untersuchung der Wechselwirkung zwischen dem Material einer bestimmten Lagerstätte und der verwendeten Abbautechnik. Zusammenfassend wird dargestellt, wie die Rohmaterialbeschaffung mit der Produktion und dem Gebrauch in Verbindung stehen sowie deren Veränderungen im Laufe der Zeit.

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