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State and Perspectives of Submerged Sites in Japan

Hayashida, K., Kimura, J. and Sasaki, R. (2014) State and Perspectives of Submerged Sites in Japan. In: Evans, Amanda, Flatman, Joseph and Flemming, Nicholas, (eds.) Prehistoric Archaeology on the Continental Shelf. Springer, New York, pp. 275-290.

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The Japanese people have long been interested in ancient relics found in the sea, lakes, and rivers. Documents from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries recorded the discoveries of lithic tools from Lake Biwa and from the Seto Inland Sea (Ishihara, Considering Methods for the Protection of Archaeological Sites, pp. 5–6, 2000; Shiga Prefectural Association for Cultural Heritage, World of Underwater Archaeology at Lake Biwa, 13, 2010). Awareness of submerged prehistoric relics led to the discoveries of numerous important underwater sites. This, for example, includes the early discovery of a Paleolithic site in the bed of Lake Nojiri in Nagano Prefecture (Nakamura and Nojiri-ko Excavation Research Group, The Quaternary Research 28(4): pp. 257–268, 1989). A few submerged prehistoric sites, most of them dating to the Jomon Period (16,000–3,300 years ago), have been identified through rescue excavations. These sites, however, have not been studied within a thematic framework, particularly as submerged sites. The following illustrates the state of submerged prehistoric site research in Japan, beginning with a history of research on submerged sites. Following this is a brief overview of Japanese environmental history and use of marine resources, as well as a discussion of underwater site formation processes. Finally, the importance of submerged sites pertaining to Japanese archaeology is addressed.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Springer
Copyright: Springer Science+Business Media New York
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