Pottery-making was invented in Japanese fishing communities, in c. 10,500 BC. When they cooked, people noticed that the clay soil underneath their fires baked and became hard. They soon began to shape clay into pots, cook them on bonfires, and leave them to cool.
Unlike earlier containers—made from leather, woven twigs, bark, and string—clay pots were heatproof and waterproof. They made it possible to cook soups and stews, brew drinks such as wine and beer, and store grain and oil for long periods. The remains of pots help archaeologists to identify different peoples.