|The Paleolithic Age in Okinawa / The Paleolithic Age in Okinawa
The Yamashita Dojin and Minatogawa Humans
In 1962 on a Ryukyu limestone plateau on the south side of the Onoyama area of Yamashita-cho, Naha City, in the Yamashita Daiich cave fossilized human remains were discovered. The human fossils excavated here were called the Yamashita Dojin and are believed to be the remains of an 8-year-old girl from 32,000 years ago.
In 1967, in a stone quarry of Gushikami-son, the fossilized remains of 7 Stone Age humans and the fossilized bones of deer and boar were discovered.
The fossils were named after the area where they were found, Minatogawa, and are estimated to be 17.000 years old. The discovery of complete Paleolithic human skeletons with complete skulls, feet and hands were the first such finds in Asia and were of worldwide interest.
The human fossils found at Minatogawa are similar to those of the Peking man (sinanthropus) and the Luijiang human found in continental China. They are said to be the ancestors of the Okinawans living today, but there is much about the Minatogawa humans that remain a mystery. Also there have been very few stone age tools unearthed from Minatogawa sites and details on the lifestyle of these early humans is not known at all.
Deer antler hatchet blades
Cranium of Minatogwa Man
Reconstruction of Minatogawa Man