Quercus gilva (evergreen oak) and western Japan: A prehistoric Relation

Since ancient times, humans have transformed the natural environment around them to create their diverse and unique cultural zones. In this journey, plants have become an integral part of human culture. Recently, researchers have found archaeobotanical pieces of evidence that point toward the value of Quercus gilva in western Japanese cultures during prehistoric times. The common name of Quercus gilva is evergreen oak.

Quercus gilva is an evergreen oak with a straight bole. The approximate height and width of Quercus gilva are 30 m tall and 200 cm (trunk diameter). It is typically found in Japan, Korea, southern China, and Taiwan. The biological evidence of Quercus gilva in Japan dates back to 8000 years BP.
Recently, Scientists have pointed towards the importance of this flora during a time from the Jomon to Kofun phases in western Japan. They have described the importance of Quercus gilva based on plant macrofossils and wood artifacts.
Current analysis of macrofossils and wooden remains of plants have points toward a rigorous application of the Quercus gilva acorns during the Jomon to Yayoi eras. On the other side, wood was used during the Yayoi to Kofun periods of western Japanese prehistory. The acorns of Quercus gilva were mostly found in storage pits during the Jomon period. It was commonly found during the Yayoi period after the starting of intensive rice agriculture in Japan. Generally, Wood was mostly used for agricultural tools of hoes and spades in western Japan during the Yayoi to Kofun eras. But it was replaced by of evergreen oaks of Quercus subgenre. During the timeline from Jomon to Kofun periods, Japan had witnessed a transition in the subsistence system from hunting-gathering to stable agriculture. But despite all these changes, Quercus gilva’s use was never stopped as a prominent food and wood resource.

For a full published research article, Click on Japanese Journal of Arcaheology

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