Stone found near Henoko is likely to be from Ryukyu Kingdom era

June 16, 2015 Yoko Tabuki of Ryukyu Shimpo

An anchor-like stone found inside Camp Schwab near the site of a planned relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is likely to be from the Ryukyu Kingdom era, according to an expert.

The city of Nago has been preparing for archaeological digs at various Henoko sites, in addition to the one that yielded the anchor stone. If the stone does turn out to be from the Ryukyu era (15th to 19th century), authorities may need to reassess their decision to construct a temporary quay in that location. Such a development is likely to delay land reclamation work the central government plans to carry out in the summer.

On June 15, the city’s education board asked a group of experts at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum to examine the stone.

The museum’s curator, Chiaki Katagiri, who studied the object, told the Ryukyu Shimpo; “It has a groove in the center and is likely to be an anchor stone.”

On May 19, the board submitted an archaeological survey plan to the Okinawa Defense Bureau. It listed several sites inside Camp Schwab, including two temporary roads mentioned by the bureau, a base construction site at the Henoko-zaki area, a site marked for diverting the flow of the Mija River, and five related spots that possibly have cultural assets underground.

As the site that yielded the anchor-stone was not one of the sites marked for examination, confirming that the stone does in fact date from the Ryukyu era would require the authorities to expand the scope of the study. Preparation for the archaeological study must start soon, as the sites are set to be turned into work yards and the temporary quay soon.

(English translation by T&CT and Scott Murphy)

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