The Japan Times, May 27, 1997


Early Jomon hamlet found

KAGOSHIMA (Kyodo) A Kagoshima prefectural archaeological team announced Monday that it has unearthed the ruins of an early Jomon community dating back about 9,500 years in Uenohara Relics in Kokubu, Kagoshima Prefecture. The Jomon period is usually dated from about 10,000 B.C. and is characterized by the emergence of ceramic production.
The Kagoshima Prefectural Buried Cultural Asset Center is the oldest ruins of a large scale hamlet in the country.
Compared to other Jomon remains in Japan, it is several thousand years older than the Sannai Maruyama Remains in Aomori Prefecture and about 2,OOO years older than Nakano B ruins around Hakodate Airport in Hokkaido, according to the team.
An early Jomon-age hamlet usually comprises of only a few houses, but the Uenohara ruins indicate that more than 10 houses made up the hamlet, the team said. They added that as the site indicates large scale communities existed earlier than had previously been thought, it is expected to attract much archaeological attention.
Tatsuo Kobayashi, a professor of archaeology at Kokugakuin University, commented that the remains are the first archaeological findings to shed light on life in the early Jomon period.
According to the team, findings include 46 dugouts, stone cooking relics including 39 steam-bakers, 15 linked earthen ditches for smoking, and a large number of earthenware for boiling and cooking.
The earthenware are adorned with shell patterns, ornamentation peculiar to Jomon earthenware. Two traces of Jomon roads have been discovered in the hamlet.
The hamlet is believed to have been made up of about 13 families bringing the total to around 50 people at any one time.
The 46 houses are believed to have been built over several hundred years that can be divided into three periods, according to the team.
The relics have been discovered in the same strata as those containing ashes from the volcanic eruption of Mount Sakurajima about 9,500 years ago and have been determined to be from the same period, the team said.
The center said the relics will be open to the general public on June 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

THESE DUGOUTS , part of the Uenohara ruins dating back approximately 9,500 years, were recently unearthed in Kokubu, Kagoshima Prefecture. KYODO PHOTO