Human bones and stone tools dating back 12000 years found in Nanjo

Human bones and stone tools dating back 12000 years found in Nanjo

Click an image to see a larger version (PDF 583KB)

October 19, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

In the morning of October 19, the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum announced that they had found human and boar bones and tools made of quartz and shellfish in the 12000 year-old layer of the Old Stone Age in the Sakitari Cave Ruins in Nanjo. According to museum staff, this is the first time that human bones and tools from the Old Stone Age have been discovered in the same ruins, and this is the oldest case in Japan.

Since the discovery of the Minatogawa-man, human bones of the Old Stone Age dating from 18000 years ago have been discovered, no other human bones have been found in the period through to the time of the ceramic culture of the Jomon Period of 7000 to 6000 years ago. This discovery will help fill in the gap between these two eras in Okinawa.

The items discovered were the canine tooth of a child, three tools made of quartz, two shellfishes, not originally from the ruins and a piece of boar bone that looks like a leftover from a meal. It is the first discovery that clarifies that quartz was used in Okinawa as a tool, and so it is expected that similar examples will be found in the future.

The Sakitari Cave Ruins in Tamagusuku, Nanjo, are located near where the Minatogawa-man was discovered. The excavation began in 2009 and the museum found the ruins between July and August in 2011, and since then its staff have been trying to ascertain what era the items are from.
Museum staff commented, “This gives us a glimpse of human culture in the Old Stone Age.”

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

Go to Japanese


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]