This chert stemmed scraper is from the Middle/Late Jomon period in Japan, ca. 2500-5500 BP. The Jomon culture was found throughout Japan, ca. 2,500-16,000 BP, a period that saw the development of considerable cultural complexity within a primarily hunting-gathering context with an intense maritime focus.
Retouched flakes with stems (sometimes called a ‘tang’) are common elements of the Jomon toolkit, from ca. 2500-13,000 BP. They are considered a signature of later Jomon sites. The shape of stemmed scrapers are tremendously variable; on many scrapers, the stem is oriented at an angle to the working edge, as in this model, but in other cases the stem is at the end of the working edge or edges, like that seen on knives world-wide. They also occur in a range of sizes. Although the term ‘scraper’ is used in the typological label, they likely served a variety of functions.
Bifacial stone reduction emerged in the Late Upper Palaeolithic/Incipient Jomon, ca. 10,700-15,500 BP, with the production of medium- to large-sized stemmed points. They were finished with sophisticated transverse-parallel pressure flaking. Some archaeologists have proposed that they are related to similar-aged stemmed points across northeast Asia and northwestern North America. Well-made bifacial hollow-based points, made on flakes, emerged at Hinata Cave on Honshu Island by ca. 12,000-12,500, and were made alongside bifacial stemmed points and knives. Bifacial triangular points and stemmed or diamond-shaped points were found at a number of other sides on Honshu at about the same time, and variations in the styles reflected a considerable degree of local diversity. Incipient Jomon people are thought to have migrated from Honshu Island to Hokkaido Island, and bifacial triangular arrowheads were found at Taisho 6 on Hokkaido Island dated to ca. 10,000-11,000 BP. A sophisticated blade-based technology suddenly appeared from ca. 8000-8400 BP in Japan, followed by continued reliance on bifacial arrowheads made on flakes.
At the Sannai-Maruyama site on Honshu Island, the proportion of bifacial arrowheads increased dramatically relative to grindstones starting at ca. 5900 BP, with large numbers of arrowheads produced after ca. 4800 BP. This suggests to one researcher that hunting grew in importance relative to plant nuts such as chestnuts or acorns. Another researcher suggested that the increase in arrowheads in the Final Jomon of Honshu Island, ca. 2900 BP, was a sign of greater warfare between neighbouring groups during the transition between Jomon and subsequent Yayoi traditions arriving from Korea.