|The Way People Lived 5,000 Years Ago Brought
Back to Life
In Aomori Prefecture, the Sannai-Maruyama Ruins are believed to be those of a village that started 5,500 years ago in the early Jomon era and ended in the mid-Jomon era about 1,500 years later. When, by chance, a regular row of one-meter diameter post holes, which marked the ruins of a rare, large ancient building structure was discovered on the construction site for a baseball stadium, work was halted. Subsequently, the whole site was preserved and archaeological surveys were initiated to clarify the nature of the ruins.
On the enormous site that covers 350,000 square meters (86.5 acres), up to 1995 excavations had uncovered the sites of 500 residences, 30 buildings with post holes, and 60 graves. The scale of some of the buildings suggests that the people living at that time must have already had advanced construction techniques, as well as a social organization that was able to bring together the large number of people that would have been needed to supply the labor power for constructing such large buildings. Furthermore, the layout of the settlement suggests evidence of town planning, since there seem to have been rules concerning the location of buildings, dump sites, and grave yards.
The rich and varied diet of the people at that time can be analyzed from the stupendous amount of bones of animals and fish, and seeds and nuts. The huge amounts of everyday artifacts, including pottery, stoneware, bone tools, and lacquerware have also attracted great interest. All the valuable evidence that the site has produced is helping to unravel some of the many mysteries of what life was like in ancient Japan.
Photos: Restored large-scale structure with pillars digged in the ground (Aomori Prefecture).
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