Excavations in the 1960s at the Iwashita Cave site, Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, resulted in the discovery of a number of human skeletal remains from the Initial Jomon phase contexts, as well as a few more individuals from the succeeding Early Jomon phase. Basic anatomical information of these materials has been published in 1968. However, they have attracted limited attention from anthropologists than they deserve, despite the growing interest in the Initial Jomon people. Here, we report our reevaluation of individual identification, as well as age and sex for each individual. Around 30 Initial Jomon individuals are represented in the collection, with additional two or more individuals belong to the Early Jomon phases. Intriguing observation made during the work includes: 1) the Initial Jomon individuals from this site share gracile skeletal characteristics with the Initial Jomon individuals from other regions of Japan; 2) Among the 19 adult individuals from the Initial Jomon phase, only young adults were represented as far as we can ascertain (N = 8), with no evidence for the presence of senior adults; 3) Most individuals display extremely severe occlusal wear, but this is a result of fast wear rate and thus should not be used to estimate their ages. Implications derived from these findings are discussed.
This paper reports human skeletal remains excavated from the Shimomotoyama Rock Shelter site, Sasebo, Nagasaki, in 1970 by Masaru Aso and his colleagues. The excavated human remains include two individuals belonging to the Early Jomon phase, two well-preserved individuals buried together in a stone coffin constructed in the Yayoi period, and other fragmentary remains. At least one of the Jomon individuals displays a suite of cranial and postcranial features known for the Jomon people. The Yayoi series show general morphological affinities to Jomon rather than to an “immigrant” Yayoi sample from northern Kyushu, although one of them displays a high facial height that characterizes the latter. Combined with the geographic location of the site, this Yayoi series can be included in the so-called “Northwestern-Kyushu type” that is believed to have had genealogical relationship with the local Jomon inhabitants. We also report about the observed high frequency of bone fracture, as well as temporal changes in the degree of tooth wear and oral hygiene in this region of Japan.
Bone collagen was extracted from a series of Jomon skeletons from Iwashita Cave in Sasebo City, Nagasaki, Japan, which were excavated in 1964–1966 seasons. The radiocarbon dates on 5 skeletons from Layer V showed calibrated dates between 9000 and 10000 cal B.P. corresponding to the Initial (Earliest) Jomon period. The stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios suggested the following estimation for their diet: (1) some amount of aquatic animals was exploited, (2) most protein was originated from terrestrial ecosystem, and (3) their diet is more resemble to carnivores than herbivores. Their isotopic signatures were similar to the Initial Jomon skeletons from Tochibara Rockshelter in the mountainous area of Nagano. On the other, some coastal sites in the Initial Jomon periods showed significantly different isotopic values for carbon and nitrogen. The different food ecology had developed for inland and coastal population in the Initial Jomon period, which might have affected in the diversity of their morphological traits.
To investigate the genetic changes in the indigenous population of northern Kyushu Island from the early Jomon to Yayoi periods, mitochondrial DNA from nine human skeletal remains excavated from the Iwashita Cave and Shimo-motoyama rock shelter sites located in Sasebo city was examined using the amplified product length polymorphism (APLP) method and next-generation sequencing analyses. Although mitochondrial DNA could be extracted from two samples, we could not determine the genetic characteristics of the population in this area and their changes from the Jomon to Yayoi periods accurately. However, the average sequencing depths for these samples were 178.73 and 61.02, which indicates the validity of the DNA capture methods used in this study. The individuals who were successfully analyzed belonged to the northwestern Kyushu Yayoi population, which is thought to be a descendant of the Jomon people. Therefore, the current data are expected to be used to speculate the characteristics of the mitochondrial DNA of the Kyushu Jomon population. However, mitochondrial haplogroups were assigned as M7a and D4a1 by APLP analysis, and based on the whole mitochondrial DNA genome sequencing data, the ancestral types were found to be M7a1a4 and D4a1. Haplogroup M7a has been detected at several Jomon sites in Honshu and Hokkaido and is thought to be a typical Jomon haplogroup. On the other hand, the existence of haplogroup D4a, considered to be derived from immigrant Yayoi population at the site suggested that the segregation of the indigenous Jomon people and immigrants in this region was not clear.
This purpose of this paper is to provide a new line of evidence for the study of Jomon foodways and subsistence. Specifically, we report the results of a quantitative analysis of plant and insect impressions on pottery excavated from Middle and Late Jomon sites in Aomori Prefecture of the northern Tohoku Region, Japan. Previously, very few impression studies have been conducted in the northern Tohoku Region, with a notable exception of Obata’s work at the Sannai Maruyama site, Aomori Prefecture. Samples were collected from five representative Early to Late Jomon sites in Aomori Prefecture: Saibana, Tominosawa No. 2, Nakanodaira, Tsukinoki No. 1 and Shitsukari Abe. While no plant seed impressions were identified, two insect larvae impressions were recovered. The first insect larvae impression is from the Saibana site and is identified as Plesiophthalmus nigrocyaneus, a type of mealworm. The second one is from the Tominosawa No. 2 site and is likely to be Cerambycidae. Given that both of these larvae typically perforate decaying logs or wood deep in the forest, it is unlikely that these worms are commonly present in the living environment of the residents of these sites. Instead, we suggest that these larvae may have been intentionally introduced into the site, potentially as food items.
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