The Karako-Kagi site

Pottery shards etched with depiction of a building, Karako kagi site, Tarawamoto, Nara

Approx. 100 shards of earthenware with a picture drawn on them were excavated from the Karako-Kagi Site. It constitutes one third of the total excavated in Japan. Below is earthenware with a picture of more-than-two-story building, which are excavated during the 47th archaeological dig in 1992. As most of the pictures drawn in the Yayoi period are about what people actually saw, this Tower is assumed to stand in the Karako-Kagi Site at that period. This discovery totally renewed the image of buildings in the Yayoi period.
Tawaramoto town reconstructed the Tower near Karako pond as a symbol of the Site.

Source: “Shards of earthenware with a picture of the Tower“, the Tarawamoto Town website


Stone harvester for reaping the rice harvest. (Karako-Kagi site, Tawaramoto Town) Photo credits: Museum of the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture

Further information:

Karako-Kagi site (The Tawaramoto municipal government website)

Along with the Yoshinogari site in Saga Prefecture, the Karako-Kagi site is one of the most famous archeological relics of Japan’s protohistoric period. Since the first excavation in 1936, numerous important articles have been unearthed here.
Among many others is the earthware with a picture of a tower drawn on it, excavated in 1991. This was an epoch-making discovery in protohistoric architecture. For the first time was demonstrated the existence of Yayoi-Period multi-storied buildings. Heretofore, the Yayoi Period (ca. 300 BC – ca. AD 300) had been considered far more primitive. The tower beside the Karako Pond is a replica made based on the picture on the earthware. Twelve and a half meters tall, it is among the highest of Yayoi building replicas.
With its unique spiral pattern decoration, the tower is a symbol of this site as the ruins of a large-scale colony of the Yayoi Period. The silhouette of the tower is elegantly integrated into the landscape of the Yamato district, delighting visitors throughout the year.

Karako Kagi site(Megalithic Portal site)   The site is a vast ruined ancient village with a moat and remains of metallurgical factories. A “watch-tower” was reconstructed based on the drawing on the excavated fragments of a pottery found 1km south from the “watch-tower”.

Natural History Researches of the Region around Seto Inland Sea. (I). Morphology and Facial Reconstruction of Human Remains in Yayoi Bronze Age from Karako-Kagi Site in Nara, Western Japan. By Baba Hisao Memoirs of the National Science Museum (2000) VOL.; NO.32;Pg 167-174(2000)

Excerpt from abstract: In 1985, two human skeletons burried in wooden coffins were unearthed from the Karako-Kagi site, one of the largest moat surrounded village in Yayoi Age Japan, in Nara, Western Japan. They surely belong to the late Early Yayoi Age (14C: 2,110.+-.120 years BP). Preservation of the skeletons was so worse that only the left half of the face of the No. 1 male skeleton shows clear morphology. That is, the face and orbit are very high. The mandibular body is high anteriorly and low posteriorly. The teeth are large and show Sinodont characteristics. All these facial morphologies clearly indicate that this skeleton is close to or identical with those of Yayoi migrants found in North Kyusyu area and differs far from those of Jomon natives found in all over Japan. Since this skeleton clearly shows Yayoi migrant features, it is likely that not only culture or technologies but also migrants themselves from Asian Continent had dispersed into Kinki area, Middle Western Japan, in the Early Yayoi Age. The face of the No. 1 skeleton was reconstructed, resulting close resemblance with the face of recent Mainland Japanese males, as was also suggested by the skeletal morphology.

水野正好, 1934- 邪馬台国 : 唐古・鍵遺跡から箸墓古墳へ /​ 水野正好, 白石太一郎, 西川寿勝著/ Yamatokoku : Karako Kagi iseki kara Hashihaka kofun e by​ Mizuno Masayoshi, Shiraishi Taichirō, Nishikawa Toshikatsu cho. 2010, Japanese Conference Proceedings Edition, Mizuno, Masayoshi, 1934- see Open Library

絵画と記号: 弥生人のメッセ一ジ : 唐古・鍵遺跡跡調查50周年記念.
Kaiga to kigō : Yayoijin no messēgi : Karako Kagi iseki ato chōsa 50-shūnen kinen.

絵画と記号: 弥生人のメッセ一ジ : 唐古・鍵遺跡跡調查50周年記念. 出版: 奈良県立橿原考古学研究所附属博物館
Kaiga to kigō : Yayoijin no messēgi : Karako Kagi iseki ato chōsa 50-shūnen kinen. Kashiwara Kōkogaku Kenkyūjo Fuzoku Hakubutsukan, 1986 pub. Nara Kenritsu

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