1985 年 24 巻 2 号 p. 111-124
Since 1962, excavations at Tategahana site which is located on the west coast of Lake Nojiri, Central Japan, have been carried out by the Nojiri-ko Excavation Research Group. On the occasion of the 8th excavation in 1981, 1, 064 materials were excavated in total. They include 234 stone artifacts, 19 wooden tools or man-made wooden flakes and 13 bone artifacts which were mainly made of Naumann elephant (Palaeoloxodon naumanni) and Yabe giant deer (Sinomegaceros yabei).
Palaeolithic bone tools are, presently, available only in a few archaeological sites such as Hanaizumi, Iwate Pref., the First Cave of Yamashita-cho and Gohezu Cave, Okinawa Pref.; but the bone materials from the latter two caves are in controversy whether they belong to man-made tools or materials made by non-human agencies. In any case, there is not a single artifact in Japan comparable to the bone scraper from Tategahana. A portion of the bone scraper which is flaked off by a single side-blow percussion is identified with a left tibia of Naumann elephant. The shape is oval and it measures 18.5×6.2×1.7cm, and the scraper-edge is retouched from dorsal surface along the sharp margin of the primary flaking. Use-wear and abrasion on the edge surface have also been examined with a binocular microscope.
The stratigraphic units of the Lower Nojiri-ko Member are divided into Members I, II and III in ascending order, and the bone scraper has been discovered on the bottom of Section IIIBl. A radiocarbon date of Section IIIA formed right under Section IIIBl indicates 36, 320±1, 130y.B.P. (GaK7792). This suggests that the age of the bone scraper belongs to a little bit younger range than this date.
Berelekh is an archaeological site in the U.S.S.R. which reveals some bone scrapers morphologically related to that of Tategahana. But they represent a later stage of Upper Palaeolithic. The Section III of the Lower Nojiri-ko Member includes both stone and bone tools, and the stone industry is less developed than the bone industry.
The age of the bone scraper, beyond dispute, coincides with the transitional phase from Neanderthal Man to Modern Man. The present paper focuses on a description of the bone scraper and its related problems. But this will provide some fundamental information for the elucidation of the bone tool manufacturing technology in the East Asian later Pleistocene.