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Archeologists Surveying in Chatan Say Area Dates Thousands of Years

Date Posted: 2004-03-25

Ongoing archeological digs in the Chatan area are revealing dozens of insights on the island community’s past, including evidence civilization has been alive and well for some 17,000 years.

Studies in the Ireihara area, formerly part of the northern area of Camp Kuwae before reversion, began showing results in 1996. The area was known to be a good farming area generating large harvests. Scientists call the area the “fountain of life” because of the water villagers had enjoyed for centuries.

The area is now in the midst of digs by archeologists and social scientists seeking a trail to ancestors. The focus is near a building housing Chatan Town’s Board of Education. A few days ago one group found traces of human life they say dates back 17,000 years, then is documented to the present.

Officials say it’s probably because of the water which made the Chatan area popular. They’re finding good and tools in the area. In 1996 they found fruit seads, bamboo baskets and wooden combs that go back 5,000 years.

Equally important, they’ve found even older house remains, necklesses made from animal bones and burial grounds. They say the new finds can be confirmed at more than 3,000 years old.

Sumao Nakamura of Chatan Town’s Culture Section says “this well water was used as a baby’s first bath water, and was used from 7,000 years ago all the way to World War II. This well was so important, it proves the same area has continuously been inhabited.” He says it’s not normal to find such remains, which is why they’re confident the local area was a key element of ancient Okinawa civilization.

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