Japan – World Archaeology

I was please to read the shroud narrative of CWA 11, as it spotlighted a absorbing even largely unknown area of archeology, namely the Jomon period of Japan. I had the honor of studying this ceramic hunter-gatherer culture, which lasted from c.13,500 – 500 BC, under Professor Tatsuo Kobayashi of Kokugakuin University, and it was a memorable have .
Yurugimatsu was the beginning locate I worked on in Japan. Already an experienced field archeologist, I initially found the tools and techniques of japanese archeology literally quite foreign to me. Given this, I thought that Yurugimatsu would serve as a good model to introduce CWA readers to some of the methods of japanese discipline archeology. Although the dig was several years ago now, the tools and techniques have not changed since then .
My time in joining the excavation, organised by Funabashi City Archaeological Research Centre, was arrant, since a new impinge was opened the very day I arrived. This gave me the opportunity to observe and participate in the whole japanese excavation action from the start. Straightaway, I was handed a cock that I had never even seen earlier. Known as the Joren, it consisted of a D-shaped blade, the straight boundary of which was sharp, attached at mighty angles to a meter long pole. My colleagues, a dedicated and experienced group of housewives and retired men, were besides armed, and together we proceeded to remove the topmost layer from the new trench, exposing the archaeological features. These appeared only as areas of slightly dark dirt. The Joren, then, is a kind of mattock and pointing trowel rolled into one, but is far less cumbersome than the former and finishes the job much quicker than the latter. furthermore, unlike trowel, using the Joren causes no discomfort to the knees .
I recognised another instrument immediately from soldierly arts movies. This, the perilous-looking Kama ( sickle ), is used by japanese archaeologists simply to cut sections.

together with three others, I was tasked by the locate director, Taro Shirai, with excavating a bombastic ellipse feature. I asked him in japanese what it was. unfortunately, since I had only barely started to learn the language I could not understand his detailed answer to my doubt. fortunately, the one lady who spoke English was in my team. She translated and summarised what he had said in equitable two words : ‘ Jomon theater ’ .
The pit-house produced a surprisingly large act of potsherds. Although I was allowed to remove and bag the smaller sherds, I was told to leave the larger sherds and any stone artefacts in place. This intend that as I removed the ground from the house hell, these objects became stranded on small towers of land. These towers were not only difficult to work round off, but were at the clemency of people ’ second feet and the weather. Unsurprisingly, some of them collapsed. The advantage of the japanese method acting, though, is that the horizontal and vertical positions of all the objects can be recorded in one run, saving a considerable amount of clock. furthermore, the objects can be photographed together, showing their kinship with each other and with the feature .
After the objects and their towers had been removed, we proceeded to excavate the 20 or so post-holes in the floor of the pit-dwelling. Although they were not arranged in any regular pattern, it was apparent that most were situated around the edge of the house pit, while the others encircled the central area. The simple round hearth was located off-centre. All in all, it was a distinctive Jomon pit-house. In order to draw the plan of the house, I was instructed in the function of the plane board, which is normally used to plan big features on japanese archaeological sites.

About 20 pit-dwellings were found at the site. Although every one contained Middle Jomon pottery, they were not all occupied at precisely the lapp clock time, for some of the house pits overlapped. As a group, though, they formed a clear arch, and had more of the site been excavated a horseshoe of pit-houses might have come to light. indeed, most Jomon settlements have a circular or horseshoe plan, with the pit-dwellings and storage pits arranged around a central plaza .
Yurugimatsu was a very enjoyable dig, though not without its dramatic moments. A knock-down typhoon washed a big part of the pamper heap back into the trench and an earthquake struck whilst we were digging one sidereal day. thankfully, no one was hurt during the quiver, and I could detect no damage to the buildings surrounding the web site. The jab not only taught me much about the Jomon period, but equipped me with a practical cognition of japanese field archeology which has served me well always since .
I besides dug on several early sites, and of all the objects that I have excavated myself in Japan, my favorite remains a toilet of Kasori E type, which I found in a large storage pit at Yurugimatsu, a site of the Middle Jomon period ( c.3500 – 2500 BC ) in Chiba Prefecture.

late discoveries continue to enhance our cognition of this unique culture. At Washinoki locate, on Hokkaido Island, a rock encircle of the Late Jomon period ( c.2500 – 1200 BC ) has come to light. actually composed of three concentric circles of stones, it has a maximum diameter of 37m, making it one of the largest in Japan. Jade beads and a big number of clay figurines dating to the Final Jomon period ( c.1200 – 500 BC ) have been unearthed at Terashita site, Aomori Prefecture. At the other end of the japanese archipelago, Higashi Myo, a boggy site of the Initial Jomon menstruation ( c.9200 – 5300 BC ) in Saga Prefecture, Kyushu Island, has yielded a bounty of well-preserved wicker baskets .
With many thanks and best wishes to Professor Kobayashi, the staff of Funabashi-Shi Maizo-Bunkazai Centre, the Yurugimatsu excavation team, Simon Kaner and Masayuki Harada .
This article is an excerpt from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 14. Click here to subscribe

reference : https://enrolldetroit.org
Category : Education

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