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Real treasures uncovered from Okinawa City castle ruins

Date Posted: 2012-01-19

An excavation project at the Goeku Gusuku in Okinawa City’s Shiromae-cho is turning up a treasure trove of beads that appear to have been in the process of being created when something happened.

An official overseeing the excavation at a private house construction site on the ancient castle ruins says the comma-shape beads appear similar to those used by high priestesses in religious rites. Virtually all comma-shape beads discovered at other ancient castle sites on Okinawa have been finished products made of agate or green jadeite materials, until now leading archaeologists to conclude the products were created in mainland Japan and imported.

Museum researchers now think the beads are of local origin, made of Okinawan limestone. Isamu Chinen, president of the Okinawa Archaeology Committee, says “if the stone is limestone, the possibility that these comma-shaped beads were made in Okinawa in the 14th century is higher.” Okinawa City will now conduct a full scale analysis. The discovery was made from one of four layers of excavations, with archaeologists finding the latest beads on the third layer, which they’ve concluded dates the beads to the 12th ~ 14th century.

Ceramic shells and animal bones dating to the 14th & 15th century were found on the first level, showing prosperity at the Goeku Gusuku, where the future King of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Sho Taikyu, spent time as a prince. The second layer, about 70cm thick mud, dates to the 14th century and has been the location for ceramics. No relics have been uncovered on the fourth level.

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