Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Caroline Akiko Yamamoto Humanities and Social Science

Reconstructing Prehistoric Human-Plant Interactions: Paleoethnobotanical Study of a Middle Jomon Pit-dwelling at Sannai Maruyama

The Sannai Maruyama site, located in Aomori Prefecture, Japan, is currently considered to be the largest Jomon Period settlement in Japan. While ongoing excavations have significantly contributed to our understanding of Jomon hunter-gatherer lifeways, there is still much to learn about Sannai Maruyamas functionality. My research will focus on analyzing the charred seed remains gathered from soil samples collected during an excavation of a Middle Jomon pit-dwelling this summer. This will allow for a preliminary assessment of the pit-dwellings functions, depositional sequences, and activity areas. More importantly, a comparison of this evidence to data from the Early Jomon period will hopefully lead me to broader conclusions regarding the long-term subsistence-settlement changes which might have characterized Sannai Maruyamas site occupation.

Message To Sponsor

This opportunity to conduct original research truly marks a turning point in my undergraduate career. Up until now I was always involved with learning knowledge and being able to summarize or recite it; through SURF I am now in the position of defining it. This is the first time that I have had such control over the knowledge I would like to explore and the knowledge I would like to contribute: the prospects of which are both exciting and frightening at the same time. I am truly thankful for this opportunity, and am eager to see what I will uncover in my archaeological research this summer!
Major: Anthropology
Mentor: Junko Habu, Anthropology
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