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Ancient RyukyuAn Archaeological Study of Island Communities$
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Richard Pearson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824837129

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824837129.001.0001

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Arriving and Settling

Arriving and Settling

Island Hunter-Gatherer Colonization and Interaction

(p.47) Chapter 4 Arriving and Settling
Ancient Ryukyu

Richard Pearson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter studies the cultural chronology of the Central-Northern, and Southern Ryukyus, and describes some key characteristics of early prehistoric island communities. At least five types of interaction among these communities can be identified: exploration, migration, exchange, innovation, emulation, as well as isolation. From roughly 7000 BC to around AD 800, people of the Northern and Central Ryukyu were hunter-gatherers, subsisting on terrestrial and marine plants and animals. Similarly, in the Southern Ryukyus, a nonagricultural subsistence pattern was practiced by the first Holocene inhabitants, who lived in the islands from around 2900 BC to 2000 BC. By about AD 1050, trade throughout the Ryukyus and the adoption of cultivation transformed earlier patterns of settlement and subsistence, marking the beginning of the Gusuku Period.

Keywords:   Central-Northern Ryukyus, Southern Ryukyus, prehistoric island communities, hunter-gatherers, Holocene inhabitants, Gusuku Period

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