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First posted by Anahi.com

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KYOTO–No fancy machines here, just a lot of hard work. But this brewery still produced sake, and it’s believed to be the oldest ever found in Japan.

Excavation firm Kokusai Bunkazai Co. unearthed the brewery believed to be from the 15th century at the Saga archaeological site, formerly on the grounds of Tenryuji temple, in Kyoto’s Ukyo Ward.

Among the finds are a facility for squeezing the unrefined sake out and about 180 holes for holding storage jars.

The brewery is believed to have been used until the time of the Onin War (1467-1477).

The previously oldest-known brewery found in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, is estimated to have been built in the Edo Period (1603-1867).

“The discovery (in Kyoto) is likely the oldest sake squeezing facility,” said Masaharu Obase, director of an Itami city-run museum. “It is smaller but has the same structure as the one dating to the Edo Period, indicating that a similar sake squeezing method was used in the medieval period.”

It was already known that sake was produced at Tenryuji temple during the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), allowing it to earn major profits and lend the money out at high interest rates. However, it was the first time that an archaeological finding has corroborated the fact, according to Kokusai Bunkazai.

The Tokyo-based company surveyed a 700-square-meter area near the current grounds of Tenryuji ahead of apartment construction between May and August 2018.

During the research, part of a sake squeezing facility believed to be from the 15th century was unearthed. Researchers said unrefined sake in cloth bags was placed in a tank and squeezed out, using a wooden bar with stones as leverage.

A pillar 1 meter long and 45 centimeters across, as well as two crosspieces to support it, each 15 cm per side and 1.8 meters long, were discovered along with about 20 stones that would have been placed on the crosspieces.

A hollow 1.8 meters across and 1 meter deep for a pot to receive drops of pressed sake was also found.

A smaller pillar from around the 14th century, 30 cm across and 40 cm long, was spotted two meters east of the hollow. Researchers said it is likely that the brewery was rebuilt.

The 180 holes for jars that stored sake are 60 cm across and 20 cm deep. Fragments of 14th-century Bizen ware jars, apparently with a diameter of 60 cm and a height of 1 meter, were unearthed as well.

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Ancient peach pits

Original article:

This article was written by Yoshito Watari and Yuya Tanaka.

Asahi.com

SAKURAI, Nara Prefecture–Thousands of peach pits found near building ruins in the Makimuku archeological site in western Japan were likely harvested between 135 and 230 A.D., adding to the possibility that the ancient kingdom called Yamataikoku was located here.

The results of carbon-14 dating of the ancient seeds were published in the latest issue of the bulletin of the Research Center of the Makimukugaku, Sakurai City.

According to the research center of the Makimukugaku, about 2,800 peach seeds were found from a pit about 5 meters south of the site of the building in 2010 along with other items, including parts of baskets and potteries, and many plants and animal bones. The objects found in the pit were believed to have been buried after being used in some kind of rituals.

The archeological site, stretching over a large area around JR’s Makimuku Station, is a government-designated historic site dating from the early third to early fourth century. It is one of the few sites around Japan that is believed to be the location of the elusive kingdom of Yamataikoku.

The kingdom appears in “Gishiwajinden,” a history book of ancient China, and is said to have existed from the end of the second century through the first half of the third century until the death of queen Himiko, who co-reigned over a greater nation called Wa, which covers much of today’s Japan.

Where Yamataikoku was located has divided Japanese historians and scholars into two camps–either in Kyushu island or in the Kinki region, where Nara Prefecture is located.

“The dates derived by scientific analysis fell into the range we expected,” said Kaoru Terasawa, the director of the Research Center of the Makimukugaku. “Along with the archeological analysis based on the age of potteries, the age of the large building was verified to be from the first half of the third century.”

However, Chuhei Takashima, archeologist and former dean of Saga Women’s Junior College, who believes Yamataikoku was located in Kyushu island, disagreed.

“It is still not definitely certain whether the carbon dating data actually indicates the age of the building itself,” he pointed out.

It is the first time that a natural scientific method was used to date the building’s ruins, which measures 19.2 meters north to south and 12.4 meters east to west, in the Makimuku site. The carbon dating makes it more likely than ever that it originated from around the era that Himiko ruled over Wa.

To date the pits, Yoshio Nakamura, professor emeritus of Nagoya University, and Ryo Kondo, director of social education of the education board of the Tokushima prefectural government, both conducted radiocarbon dating tests separately using accelerator mass spectrometry.

Nakano studied 15 pits, and apart from three that could not be analyzed, he concluded that 12 originated from between 135 and 230 A.D.

Kondo studied two others and obtained similar results. He also analyzed charred matter on pottery pieces and melon seeds found in the pit, and concluded they are highly like to be from between 100 and 250 A.D.

 

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Piles of clamshells with a stone structure above them are seen at an excavation site at the Sakatsuji Shell Midden in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture. | CHUNICHI SHIMBUN

Original Article:

japantimes.co.jp
Jan 22, 2018
An ancient heap of shells at Sakatsuji Shell Midden in the city of Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, most likely served as a clam processing site in the latter half of the mid-Jomon Period, approximately 4,500 years ago, an investigation conducted by the city’s board of education has revealed.
While there are ruins in eastern Japan that indicate organized production during the mid-Jomon Period — including the Nakazato shell midden, or mound, which is a national historic site in Tokyo’s Kita Ward — it is extremely rare to find one in the Chubu region or further west. This latest discovery will provide important clues about the culinary lifestyle and economic activities conducted in the Jomon Period.
The Sakatsuji shell mound is one of the Muro cluster of seven shell middens in Aichi Prefecture.
An excavation conducted in the 1970s showed a rough scale of activities there, but details had remained unknown.
The mound is located approximately 3.5 km inland of what is now Mikawa Bay. But prior to the bay being filled in to create rice fields in the Edo Period the shell mound had faced the sea, along a stretch of coastland where the shores are shallow.
As a land consolidation project is scheduled to start in the area that includes the mound, the board of education had been excavating approximately 1,000 square meters of land since May.
The mound, made almost entirely of clamshells, measures roughly 1.6 meters high, about 6 meters wide and more than 24 meters long.
At least four layers have been identified, sandwiched between soil streaked with charcoal.
The team also discovered around 55 objects that looked like furnaces assembled from stones, and the members expect to find more as they continue excavating.
“We believe that the clams were boiled in the furnaces, and their meat stripped from the shells. Afterward the shells were piled up, then the ground was leveled and made into a processing site again,” said a member of the excavation team. “That kind of process must have been repeated again and again.”
The excavation team was not able to find any evidence of residences nearby, so it was likely the workers who dug and processed the clams lived in another area.
The volume of shells discovered was so huge it is hard to believe that they were consumed within the region, and the excavation team has said there is a possibility people dried the clams after they were boiled so that they would last longer and could be used for trading.
The shells are of various sizes. “We found many large shells similar to those seen in high-class Japanese restaurants. The clams must have become quite salty when boiled in sea water, so maybe they were used to make soup stock,” a member of the excavation team said. Several hundred furnaces have been found in the other six shell mounds in Muro. They share the same features as the Sakatsuji midden, which indicates the whole area was bustling with clam processing at the time.
However, the other six shell middens were from the late Jomon Period — approximately 2,300 to 3,800 years ago — which means the clam processing site of Sakatsuji was much older.
Most of the furnaces found in the other shell middens were also without stone structures, and were constructed in such a way that earthenware was placed directly on the floor.
“Perhaps they changed to a simpler furnace in order to meet the growing demand for clams,” said one of the team members.
The excavation will continue until the end of March and an on-site briefing is expected to be held in mid-February.
According to Tomonari Osada, a part-time lecturer specializing in archaeology at Chubu University, the Tokai region during the mid-Jomon Period is believed to have been less socially developed compared to the period immediately before the beginning of the Yayoi Period.
“I would be surprised if the production conducted at the Sakatsuji shell midden was for the sake of trading and distribution to other regions. We need to focus on this site and conduct further analysis to determine whether the objects made of stones were indeed furnaces for boiling (clams).”

Piles of clamshells with a stone structure above them are seen at an excavation site at the Sakatsuji Shell Midden in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture. | CHUNICHI SHIMBUN

 

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Basil Pollen

 

SAKURAI, Nara Prefecture–Basil pollen from the time of the legendary shaman queen Himiko has been discovered at the site that might once have been her home.

The basil, the oldest found in Japan, dates back more than 1,500 years and originated in the tropics of Southeast Asia, archaeologists announced May 13.

It was found in the Makimuku ruins which date back to the early third and fourth centuries.

“Basil of Southeast Asian origin could have been brought here as dried medicinal herbs through exchanges with the Chinese,” said Masaaki Kanehara, a professor of archaeology at Nara University of Education.

The ruins, a national historic site, are believed to have once been home to the ancient kingdom of Yamataikoku that was ruled by Himiko.

The exact location of the kingdom has long been a topic of academic debate.

The find was announced in an article published by Kanehara and his wife, Masako, who is also an environmental archaeologist, in a bulletin of the Research Center for Makimukugaku.

The pollen was discovered during a dig conducted in 1991 in a ditch measuring 1.5 meters wide and 1 meter deep, located about 50 meters south of a “kofun” in the ruins. A kofun is a huge burial mound of a high-ranking figure in ancient Japan and the Makimuku Ishizuka Kofun is believed to have been built in the early or mid third century.

Realizing several years ago that the discovered pollen resembled that of the basil plant, the couple planted about 10 kinds of basil last year. After comparing different kinds of basil pollen, the two concluded that the pollen found in the ruins likely came from a strain originating in Southeast Asia.

As only a tiny amount was discovered, it is believed that basil was not cultivated in the area. In addition, the deteriorated colors of the specimen suggests that it is not pollen from a newer era that slipped into the ruins at a later date.

Basil, a herb belonging to the mint family, boasts more than 40 species that originated in India and Southeast Asia.

The strong-scented kind used in Italian cuisine was introduced into Europe from India. In China, basil became an ingredient for medicine, and was ingested in the belief it improved blood flow. In the Edo Period (1603-1867), the seeds of the plant, which become gelatinous when soaked in water, were used as eyewash in Japan.

According to the Gishiwajinden (Biography of the Wa people) chronicle in “Wei Zhi,” the official history book of the Wei Dynasty, a number of Chinese missions were sent to Japan in the mid-third century via the Korean Peninsula.

By KAZUTO TSUKAMOTO

Original Article:

asahi.com

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20140127-134920.jpg

Courtesy of Nara Prefectural Archaeological Institure of Kashihara
Yayoi period rice grains unearthed from the Akitsu archaeological site

Topic: Ancient Rice:

The Yomiuri Shimbun NARA—Eleven grains of brown rice believed to date back to the early Yayoi period, around 2,600 to 2,400 years ago, were found at the location of a former paddy in the Akitsu archaeological site in Goze, Nara Prefecture.

Due to the well-preserved condition of the grains, they were expected to provide clues about the rice cultivated by ancient people of the period, according to experts.

Kyoto University Prof. Tatsuya Inamura, an expert on plant production systems, revealed the discovery at a research meeting of Nara Prefecture’s Archaeological Institute of Kashihara on Jan. 12.

The rice grains, which were first excavated in November, were brown and about four millimeters in length. The rice did not have husks. The grains are believed to have been so well-preserved because they were sealed in mud with high water content and were not exposed to air. It is rare to discover rice from the Yayoi period that has not undergone carbonization, according to Inamura.

Original article:

the japan news
Jan 21, 2014
The Yomiuri Shimbun

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20130417-121404.jpg

Topic:ancient pots for oohing fish

Hunter-gatherers living in glacial conditions produced pots for cooking fish, according to the findings of a pioneering new study led by the University of York which reports the earliest direct evidence for the use of ceramic vessels.

Scientists from the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and Japan carried out chemical analysis of food residues in pottery up to 15,000 years old from the late glacial period, the oldest pottery so far investigated. It is the first study to directly address the often posed question “why humans made pots?” The research is published in Nature.

The research team was able to determine the use of a range of hunter-gatherer “Jōmon” ceramic vessels through chemical analysis of organic compounds extracted from charred surface deposits. The samples analysed are some of the earliest found in Japan, a country recognised to be one of the first centres for ceramic innovation, and date to the end of the Late Pleistocene – a time when humans were adjusting to changing climates and new environments.

Until quite recently ceramic container technologies have been associated with the arrival of farming, but we now know they were a much earlier hunter-gatherer adaptation, though the reasons for their emergence and subsequent widespread uptake are poorly understood. The first ceramic containers must have provided prehistoric hunter-gatherers with attractive new ways for processing and consuming foods but until now virtually nothing was known of how or for what early pots were used.

The researchers recovered diagnostic lipids from the charred surface deposits of the pottery with most of the compounds deriving from the processing of freshwater or marine organisms. Stable isotope data support the lipid evidence, and suggest that the majority of the 101 charred deposits, analysed from across Japan, were derived from high trophic level aquatic foods.

Dr Oliver Craig, of the Department of Archaeology and Director of the BioArCh research centre at York, led the research. He said: “Foragers first used pottery as a revolutionary new strategy for the processing of marine and freshwater fish but perhaps most interesting is that this fundamental adaptation emerged over a period of severe climate change.

“The reliability and high abundance of food along shorelines and river-banks may well have provided the initial impetus for an investment in producing ceramic containers, perhaps to make the most of seasonal gluts or as part of elaborate celebratory feasts and could be linked to a reduction in mobility.

This initial phase of ceramic production probably paved the way for further intensification in the warmer climate of the Holocene when we see much more pottery on Japanese sites.

“This study demonstrates that it is possible to analyse organic residues from some of the world’s earliest ceramic vessels. It opens the way for further study of hunter-gatherer pottery from later periods to clarify the development of what was a revolutionary technology.”

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The study also involved researchers from Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford; Division of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University; School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool; Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen; Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Stockholm University; The Archaeological Research Laboratory, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University and Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, Netherlands; and Niigata Prefectural Museum of History, Niigata; Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto and Wakasa History and Folklore Museum, Fukui, in Japan.

Original article:
eurekalert.org

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Category:Maps of the Mongol Empire

Image via Wikipedia

Topic: What foods will archaeologists find?

I picked this up from yahoo. I can’t wait to see what food stuffs they find in such a wreak, and in what condition they will be.

Marine archeologists say that the ancient wreckage of a ship discovered in the seabed off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, belongs to the ancient “lost fleet” of ships belonging to China‘s 13th century Mongol ruler Kublai Khan, CNN reports.

Explorers found the 20-meter-long shipwreck by using ultra-sound equipment some 25 meters off the coast of Nagasaki. The team of researchers buried the ultra-sound sensors about a meter deep in the sandy earth beneath the sea. Archeologists believe the ship dates back to 1281, and was part of a 4,400-vessel fleet that China’s Mongol rulers during the Yuan Dynasty had employed as an invasion force.

The discovery of the ship’s well preserved and mostly intact 12-meter-long keel “could go a long way to helping researchers identify all the characteristics of the 20-meter warship,” CNN reported, citing the head of the research team that made the discovery.

“This discovery was of major importance for our research,” Yoshifumi Ikeda, of Okinawa’s University of the Ryukyus, said at a recent press conference in Nagasaki, according to the CNN report. “We are planning to expand search efforts and find   further information that can help us restore the whole ship.”

According to Japanese legend, two typhoons–known as the Kamikaze–that occurred seven years apart in the 13th century twice saved Japan from Mongol invasion by “destroy[ing] two separate Mongol invasions fleets so large they were not eclipsed until the D-Day landings  of World War II,” CNN reported. China was not so spared, however, and was ruled by the Mongol Yuan Dynasty from 1271-1368.

“According to a contemporary account cited in the book Khubilai Khan’s Lost fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada,”  by maritime archaeologist James P. Delgado, the typhoon’s destruction of the over 4,000-vessel Yuan Dynasty invasion fleet created such a vast quantity of material wreckage “that ‘a person could walk across from one point of land to another on a  mass of wreckage,'” CNN reported.

The wooden-planked ship, originally believed to have been painted light gray, is among “more than 4,000 artifacts, including ceramic shards, bricks used for   ballast, cannonballs and stone anchors [that] have been found in the vicinity   of the wreck, linking it to the Yuan Dynasty invasion fleet,” CNN reported.

Link shows a vido of the site: yahoonews

Original article:

By By Laura Rozen | The Envoy

Oct 26, 2011

The Envoy is the Yahoo! News foreign affairs blog bringing readers news of Washington and the world at-large.

 

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