Writing for the Asahi Simbun on 15 February 2014, Shunske Nakamura, Senior Staff Writer, reports on the oldest concurrent discovery of human bones and artefacts as yet found in Japan –
NAHA, Okinawa Prefecture–Archaeologists have unearthed shell tools around 20,000 years old that could help clear up mysteries surrounding the ancestors of modern Japanese people. The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum said the shell tools–the first uncovered in Japan from the Paleolithic Age–were dug up at the Sakitari-do cave site in Nanjo, Okinawa Prefecture, near the site where the country’s oldest whole skeletons were found. It was Japan’s oldest concurrent discovery of both human bones and artifacts.
Around 40 fragments of shells of the Veneridae family, ledge mussels and other species were found that are believed to have been used as tools by humans. A human tooth and a foot bone were also found in the same geological formation. Carbon dating of charcoal from the same formation indicated the remains were 20,000 to 23,000 years old.