Possibly oldest burial in Japan found in Tamagusuku

A part of a human skeleton believed to be more than 9,000 years old was discovered in Sakitari Cave in Gangala Valley, a well-known tourist attraction in Maekawa, Tamagusuku.

According to researchers at Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum the skeleton consists of an almost complete set of human upper body bones including elbows and shoulders connected to the rest of the skeleton.  The body seems to have been buried on purpose because the remains were covered four stones, each about 30 cm in diameter.  If further research confirms a burial, it will possibly be the oldest in Japan.

The remains were found three meters underground. Researchers say the bones seem to have been an adult male, and include the head, upper arm, femur and pelvis, but most of the lower body bones are gone.  They speculate that the lower body bones were swept away by flowing water, traces of which were detected in the upper layer of the soil that covered the bones.

The spot where the bones were discovered is close to the site where the remains of both the so called Minatogawa man that is estimated 20,000 to 23,000 years old, and Shiraho-saonetabaru cave man, estimated to date back 20,000 to 24,000 years, were found separately.