Japan’s Neolithic Age coincides with a long period of climatic warming that begins about 10,000 B.C. and causes sea levels to rise—separating the Japanese archipelago from the Asian continent. This epoch, known as Jōmon, or “cord-marked,” takes its name from the distinctive vessels made during this time. Roughly contemporary with the civilizations of Mesopotamia, the Nile, and the Indus Valley, the Jōmon is among the earliest pottery cultures of the world. The Jōmon people rely on hunting, fishing, and food gathering for survival. They reside in pit dwellings arranged around a central open space, which are increasingly arranged in settled communities.