Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sannai-Maruyama Site -Japanese Stone Age sites (3)

Sannai-Maruyama Site, Aomori, Aomori Pref.

While I was travelling Akita I met a group of old women from various parts of Japan who seemed to be on a reunion trip and we had a chat about own towns. One of them came from Aomori and recommended I should visit Sannai-Maruyama Site. According to her the site was well-organized and worth the long journey to get there. I said “Yes, I will.” The next month my husband and I decided to go Aomori, so I put the site on top of my places-to-see list and arranged for the resident English-speaking volunteer guide to help.

That day we started on the east coastline of Aomori Prefecture to see birds then drove along the north coastline back to Aomori city. I had arranged the guide for the entrance hall
the last available tour time and we arrived at the last minute, as it took more than 3 hours to get there.

The site, looking like a large park, is located just beyond the outskirts of Aomori city and it is entered through a large, extremely modern art museum seeming to connect old and new or past and present.

This Jomon site was discovered in 1993 and has been gradually excavated ever since, but it might take long, long time to be completed and reveal its full extent. I’ve posted about two archaeological sites so far, both of them were stone circles intended as ritual sites, this on the other hand was a large thriving village of the Jomon period. As it’s not a stone site, all the original wooden structures have gone leaving only holes and wooden stumps of what were once great pillars in the case of the larger structures as well as many ornaments and fragments of pottery. We can learn a lot from this evidence.

When we visited Oyu stone circle, our guide answered our questions and told us that we can only learn the location and purpose of the buildings, not what the structure itself would have looked like. The wooden structures displayed are not replicas but are built on the actual sites using a combination of research and imagination.

Yes, of course… but I didn’t realize till it was pointed out.

To come back to the Sannai-Maruyama site, it has structures in different styles, all possible variations based on what has been discovered, whereas unearthed artefacts speak for themselves. Objects made from a variety of stone not found the area is evidence of Jomon trade with others. Evidence uncovered so far tells us so many things about the past and it is now said that the Jomon people were much more advanced than we had previously thought.

The site is very well-organized, in a way very modern and park-like. Though it might not look as it did in Jomon times it is nevertheless an enjoyable and pleasant place to visit.

Sannai-Maruyama Site (Official/English)
The Group of Jomon Sites in Aomori Prefecture (Official/English)

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