Japanese Bioarchaeology

Jomon Hunter-Gatherers (For Mid-Atlantic bioarchaeology research, see here).

My focus in prehistoric Japan is understanding how population health is affected by climate change and biocultural adaptations to these changes where resilience fails. I have a large dataset from Jomon, Epi-Jomon, and Yayoi-Jomon sites across the three islands of Japan (Honshu, Hokkaido, and Kyushu).

Working collaboratively with colleagues in Japan, we have a  research agenda with an applied component relevant to Alaska and other circumpolar regions experiencing similar environmental disruptions (but exacerbated by human activity) . Prehistoric sites from Hokkaido (the north island of Japan) parallel trends seen in traditional contemporary native Alaska: seasonality of resources, extreme winter temperatures limiting resources for a good portion of the year, engagement in maritime hunter-gatherer subsistence economy, rapid climate change, challenges to food systems and identity via larger regional political economy, and rural-urban social networks. In particular, the impact on indigenous communities from rapid climate and social change is a critical issue in Alaska. How can we know what strategies will be progressively successful in striking a balance between cultural resilience and ecological adaptation? While there are many field research programs informing contemporary social policies in this regard, the long-term consequences of these initiatives are not evident or accessible via short-term data sets. The ‘deep time’ perspective of archaeology presents an invaluable opportunity to test our understanding of past human–environment interactions and examine the evolutionary consequences of adaptation across multiple generations. Increasing our understanding of the human past can provide a long-term perspective an d better inform decisions in the present to improve human-environment synergy and cultural resilience. We also have been working in Kyushu (the beach head of agricultural expansion into Japan from mainland Asia) on hunter-gatherer population health into the agricultural period.

Grant Sponsorship
NSF-Japan Society for the Promotion of Science International Fellowship
NSF-Alaska EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

Relevant Publications
2016. Hoover KC and Hudson MJ. Resilience in prehistoric persistent hunter–gatherers in northwest Kyushu, Japan as assessed by population health and archaeological evidence. Quaternary International 405(Part B):22-33. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.10.047 (5 Year Impact Factor 2.383). Role: biological data analysis and resilience theory; production of manuscript.

2016. Hoover KC and Williams, FL. Variation in regional diet and mandibular morphology in prehistoric Japanese hunter–gatherer–fishers. Quaternary International 405(Part B):101-109. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.01.030 (5 Year Impact Factor 2.383). Role: biological data collection, collaborative analysis, archaeological knowledge and, contextual interpretation of results.

Hudson M, Aoyama M, Hoover KC, Kawashima T, and Uchiyama J. 2013. 現在の地球気候変動と考古学的研究—社会生態システムのレジリアンスを高めるための考古学的戦略の構築 (Archaeological research and current global climate change: Building archaeological strategies for increasing the resilience of social-ecological systems). Quaternary Research (Journal of the Japanese Quaternary Society).

Hudson M, Aoyama M, Hoover KC, Uchiyama J. 2012. Prospects and challenges for an archaeology of global climate change. WIREs Climate Change. Impact Factor 2.91 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.174

Aoyama M, Hudson M, Hoover KC. 2012. Hoover KC.Occupation mediates ecosystems services with human well-being. Journal of Occupational Sciences 19(3):213-225. DOI:10.1080/14427591.2011.634782

In Press. Hudson M, Aoyama M, and Hoover KC. 2012. Navigating hunter-gatherer resilience: networks and insularity in the prehistory of the Ryukyu Islands. Proceedings from the International and multidisciplinary conference in Tromsø 13-16 Oct. 2009. Accepted for publication in the series Mémoires de la Societé Finno-Ugrienne, published by the Finno-Ugrian Society, Helsinki. Edited by Charlotte Damm and Dr. Janne Saarikivi, University of Helsinki.

2008. Hoover KC, and Matsumura H. Temporal variation and interaction between nutritional and developmental instability in prehistoric Japanese populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 137:469-478. Impact Factor 2.756. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20892.

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