The Paleolithic Age in Okinawa / The Paleolithic Age in Okinawa 4/4

Fossil Humans and Paleolithic Culture

Within Japan, in the islands of Okinawa, are sites where many human fossils have been discovered.. This is due to the presence of large quantities of calcium carbonate, which leaches out in the substrate water in the Ryukyuan limestone caves of Okinawa. The concentration of calcium carbonate in these stalactite caves has fossilized the bones of humans that were within.
In the digs from other areas of Japan, such as sites in the Kanto region's loam, the acidic nature of the volcanic soil was not conducive to fossilization and most bones dissolved away quickly.
Surveys confirm that there are as many as 600 caves in Okinawa, but most have not been investigated and have been filled in or destroyed. It is desirable to conduct careful study in them because of the possibility of archeological finds within. It is thought that through the advances brought about by investigation and excavation of these stalactite caves, the chances are certain that an increasing number of human fossils will be found.

Name Estimated Dates Part of Skeleton Discovered Year Discovered / Location
Yamashita Dojin 32,0000 years ago Thighbone of an infant, shinbones, etc. 1962 Naha City
Yonebaru-jin 30,000 years ago (?) Pelvis, thighbones, clavicle, etc. 1966 Ishigaki City (Ishigaki-shima Island)
Oyama-jin 18,000 years ago Lower jawbone 1966 Ginowan City
Minatogawa-jin 17,000 years ago Almost complete skeletons of 4-7 individuals 1967 Gushikami-son
Pinza-abu-jin 26,000 years ago Parietal and occipital bones 1979 Ueno-son(Miayko-jima Island)
Iegohezu-jin 20,000 years ago Jawbone, pieces of skull 1977 Ie-son (Iejima Island)
Shimoji- Gendojin 15.000 years ago Thigh bones of an infant, about 50 pieces of lower jawbone 1983 Gushikawa-son (Kume-jima Island)

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