Quantitative analysis of fish remains excavated from archaeological sites provides a basis for the study of past fishing activities. Not all archaeological reports of fish assemblages, however, provide detailed descriptions of their identification criteria and sampling methods. In particular, reconstruction of fish assemblages on the basis of neurocrania, which are known to be extremely fragile, may provide us with biased results. In contrast, fish vertebrae are typically better preserved and thus their quantification can provide us with more reliable results. This paper aims to identify characteristics of a fish assemblage from the Sannai Maruyama site, Aomori Prefecture, on the basis of the analysis of approximately 1400 vertebrae samples retrieved from middle Early Jomon (ca. 5700–5600 cal. BP) sediments (71400 g) that were retrieved using 1 mm mesh screen. Our results indicate that 83% of vertebrae samples were small specimens, such as herring Clupea pallasii and mackerel Scomber, which would not have been retrieved if we used 4 mm mesh screen only. We conclude that fishing activities at this site during the middle Early Jomon period is characterized by mass-capturing of small-sized fish.
The Amida Hall located on the grounds of Yuten-ji Temple in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward is said to have been donated by Take-hime, the adopted daughter of Tsunayoshi, the fifth Tokugawa Shogun, in 1724 as a ward against evil. Temple records support this and also state that a stone box containing the hair of Take-hime was buried under the floor beneath the shumidan (the altar on which the Buddhist statue rests). Temple renovations in 2014 made it possible to examine the floor beneath the Amida hall. A small box made with two pyroxene andesite was discovered and the author examined the contents in detail. As a result, we excavated short bundles of hair, fragments of a paulownia board, lumps of white powder and a square mirror and other artifacts thought to have belonged to Take-hime from a pile of earth several centimeters in thickness at the bottom of the box. We will report the results of archeological and anthropological research we conducted on these objects in this paper.
In this study, ancient genome analysis of two Yayoi human skeletons excavated from the Shimomotoyama Rock Shelter in Sasebo city was carried out. Based on a morphological study, these individuals were descendants of the indigenous Jomon people rather than of the immigrant Yayoi people. However, as a result of DNA analysis using the next-generation sequencer, it was revealed that these individuals have the genome of both Jomon and immigrant Yayoi people. These human bones belong to the end of the Yayoi period. From the results of this study, it was revealed that at this time, in the surrounding areas of Northwest Kyushu Island, the admixture was quite advanced between the indigenous Jomon and immigrant Yayoi people. These results indicate that it is necessary to reconsider the relationship between these two groups who have been thought to have been completely different. The present study also showed that the data obtained by analyzing the nuclear genome of ancient human bones is effective for capturing the situation of such a mixed population. Further analyses of more archaeological sites dating from the Yayoi period of Kyushu Island will lead us toward a more precise genetic characterization of these societies.