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Ancient bones discovered at Goeku Gusuku site

Date Posted: 2012-03-14

Two of seven human bones dating to the 11th ~ 14th century are now part of an exhibit at the Okinawa City Museum.

Okinawa City Museum has only now announced the discovery of the bones, six of which belonged to a one-year-old child, and one to an adult, at the Goeku Gusuku site where Sho Taiku, King of the Ryukyu Kingdom, lived as a prince in the 14th century. Museum officials say discovery of baby bones in large quantities is very rare, and could prove to be a link to the mysteries of Goeku Gusuku.

They’re hoping further excavations will provide more clues to the origin and functions of the castle. Naomi Doi, an instructor at the University of the Ryukyu’s Medical Department, says “It is really rare to find bones dating back to the early Gusuku period.” She has inspected the site and the bones, which were discovered between August and November 2010 within a 330-square-meter residential construction area.

Archaeologists estimate the burial period by dating a piece of a Chinese-made bowl in the same area. Further analysis of the bones is under way, and is expected to provide additional details, such as the gender of the child.

Two of the bones, as well as other finds from the area, are on display at “The Mystery of Goeku Gusuku” exhibition at the Okinawa City Museum located in the city’s Uechi district. Admission to the exhibition is free, and runs through March 25th.

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