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Rice paddy

The Transition to Agriculture

at the edges of Eurasia

Neolithisation in the British Isles and the Jomon-Yayoi transition


4th-5th July 2024

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge

This two-day symposium will present the latest advances on the transition to farming in the British Isles and the Japanese archipelago as well as the key outputs of the ENCOUNTER project. A total of 19 speakers will discuss different aspects of this pivotal event, covering aspects such as population genetics, cultural transmission, paleoecology, subsistence economy and paleodemography. The event will be both in person and online. The number of attendees in-person attendees will be limited.  

​Key Details

  • When: 4th-5th July 2024

  • Where: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

  • In-Person Registration (link)

  • Online Registration (link)

  • Download flyer (link)

Scientific Programme

Thursday, 4th July 2024 (Day One)

9:00 - 9:15    Welcome and Introductory Remarks (Enrico Crema)

Morning Session - Neolithisation in the British Isles 

9:15 - 9:40       The demography of farming dispersal into the British Isles (Stephen Shennan)     
9:40 - 10:05    Diet and culinary change with the advent of farming in Britain (Oliver Craig)
10:05 - 10:30  Unlocking culinary records from prehistoric Britain through the analysis of charred food remains (Lara Carretero) 

10:30 - 11:00  Coffee Break

11:00 - 11:25    Demography and the distribution of axes in the British Neolithic (Peter Schauer) 
11:25 - 11:50    Environmental transformations at the start of the Neolithic in Britain (Ralph Fyfe)
11:50 - 12:15    The genetics of the inhabitants of Neolithic Britain (4000-2500 BCE): Migration, mixture and social organisation (Thomas Booth)
12:15 - 12:45    Discussion

12:45 - 14:00   Lunch Break

Afternoon Session - The Jomon-Yayoi Transition

14:00 - 14:25    Changes in Plant Use from the Jomon to the Yayoi Period (Hiroo Nasu)     
14:25 - 14:50    Understanding the productivity and cultivation methods of rice farming in Yayoi period using experimental archaeology and phytolith analysis (Yukiko Kikuchi)
14:50 - 15:15    The onset of Yayoi agriculture in Northeastern Honshu, Northern Japan: a new perspective from handicraft production (Katsunori Takase)

15:15 - 15:45    Coffee Break

15:45 - 16:10    The Population History of the Japanese Archipelago: A Genetic Perspective (Yusuke Watanabe) 
16:10 - 16:35    Agricultural and culinary significance of millet and rice in the Bronze Age Korea (Shinya Shoda) 
16:35 - 17:00    Potential for food production in the Jomon period from an evolutionary perspective (Minoru Yoneda)
17:00 - 17:30    Discussion

17:30 - 18:30    Reception at the Venue

Friday, 5th July 2024 (Day Two)

Morning Session - The Encounter Project

9:40 - 10:05    Tempo, Mode, and Demographic Response to the Dispersal of Rice Agriculture in Prehistoric Japan (Enrico Crema)      
10:05 - 10:30    Ecological niche models of early rice agriculture in prehistoric Japan (Leah Brainerd)

10:30 - 11:00    Coffee Break

11:00 - 11:25    The use of pottery across the transition to rice and millet agriculture in Japan (Jasmine Lundy)
11:25 - 11:50    Modelling Post-marital residence rules and transmission pathways in cultural hitchhiking (Simon Carrignon)
11:50 - 12:15    Comparing and contrasting the resilience and sustainability of early transitional agricultural societies at the far reaches of eastern and western Eurasia (Chris J. Stevens)

12:15 - 12:45    Discussion

12:45 - 14:00  Lunch Break

Afternoon Session - Reflections

14:00 - 14:25    Transitions to agricultural ways of life: as seen from changes in the spatio-temporal organization of communicative domains (Koji Mizoguchi)     
14:25 - 14:50    Models and contexts: micro and macro histories of the agricultural transition (Simon Kaner)

14:50 - 15:30    Coffee Break

15:30 - 16:30    Roundtable Discussion

16:30    Concluding Remarks (Enrico Crema)


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