2011 in the news: 24,000-year-old human bone fragment in a cave on Ishigaki island in Okinawa Prefecture

In November 2011, researchers announced they had found a 24,000-year-old human bone fragment in a cave on Ishigaki island in Okinawa Prefecture. If the finding holds up they would be among the oldest human remains found in Japan. The Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum said the piece of bone, excavated from the Shirahosaonetabaru cave, is believed to be part of a rib.

Using direct dating, the researchers concluded that the fragment is 4,000 years older than the previous oldest find in Japan. Archaeologists at the University of Tokyo are using radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the fragment. The researchers are studying about 300 pieces of human bone as well as animal bones, including one from a wild boar, found in the cave. The cave is located in a construction site for a new airport.

[Source: Asahi Shimbun , November 11, 2011]

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