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Although confined to smaller areas, other studies have confirmed these general trends [9,18,30]

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Although confined to smaller areas, other studies have confirmed these general trends [9,18,30]

Early studies based on time-series of dwelling counts from western Kanto (Saitama, Tokyo, and Kanagawa Prefectures) suggest a pattern of three episodes of population rise and fall with different degrees of magnitude. More specifically: 1) a growing trend towards the second half of the Early Jomon period; 2) an abrupt decline in the transition to Middle Jomon; 3) a population maximum towards the second half of the Middle Jomon; 4) followed again by a sharp decline in the transition to the Late Jomon; and 5) a second smaller rise and fall during the middle part of the Late Jomon. A recent statistical reassessment of the same dataset that integrates Kobayashi’s absolute scheme indicates a statistically significant increase in the number of residential units at 5,600–5,400 and 5,100–5,000 cal BP, a significant drop between 4,600 and 4,400, and the timing of the maximum peak at ca. 4,750 cal BP (see also S1A and S1B Fig).

Evidence from Aomori Prefecture and Hokkaido are limited compared to Kanto, priework is mostly confined to the scale of period rather than pottery phases. In Hokkaido (S1C Fig), the number of sites increases from the Early (n = 966; 6,950

In particular, the possibility to rely on absolute calendar dates, rather than the conventional relative chronology offered by the majority of the archaeological record, is giving the unique opportunity to assess the relationship between population dynamics and climatic change [36–39]

2,300 cal BP) [31,32]. In Aomori Prefecture (S1D Fig), the general trend seems to be slightly shifted with the peak of site counts recorded for the Late Jomon period, and the Early, Middle and Final Jomon showing similar and lower figures . The number of residential units shows, however, a different picture (S1E Fig), with a peak during the Middle Jomon followed by a decline during the Late Jomon period, suggesting a general reduction in settlement sizes. A chronologically more refined study in the Hachinohe city area (southeastern part of Aomori Prefecture; Fig 1 and S1 Fig) seem to locate the peak in the dwelling counts between the end of the Middle Jomon and the beginning of the Late Jomon period, followed by a gradual decline throughout the Late and the Final Jomon periods .

Broadly speaking, existing time-series based on both site and residential unit counts do seem to indicate similarities in the shape of the population trajectories of these three regions, with a general rise and fall pattern observed at the coarsest temporal scale. However, closer examinations of the data seem to suggest possible divergences. Some fluctuations are observed in certain locations but not in others (e.g. the Early is koreancupid real? to Middle Jomon decline in the residential unit counts observed in Kanto but not in southeastern Aomori Prefecture), while the timing of specific events such as the major Middle Jomon decline seems to differ (i.e. occurring at the end of Middle Jomon in Kanto and at the middle of the Late Jomon period in southeastern Aomori Prefecture). These observations are, however, constrained by the fact that the chronological subdivision is often at its coarsest scale (e.g. as in Hokkaido), and even when finer resolutions are available the synchronicity of the phases are not warranted. Here we evaluate whether evidence from the SPD of 14 C dates confirms the presence of a general rise and fall, whether we can identify statistically significant divergences between the three regions and, if so, when these occurred.

Methods

The last few years saw an exponential increase of archaeological studies that go beyond the simple notion of 14 C as a dating tool, and seek instead to measure less tangible events, such as the rise and fall of cultural phases , the timing of colonisation events , or the spread of farming . The use of SPD of 14 C dates as proxy of ancient demography, for instance, has seen a wide range of applications in Europe and North America, offering new insights and details on the population dynamics of prehistoric societies.