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Archeologists using tops to track Japanese history

Date Posted: 2005-08-17

Childs play and science are working together to assist archeologists in studying Japan’s roots.

Teams of archeologists are using thousands of the children’s play tops to determine exactly how Japanese waters flow to the ocean and beyond. The project, which began June 1st, brought Yonaguni Town into the spotlight as 200 of the round tops floated to shore. They were the first of 10,000 to be placed into mainland Japan streams and rivers in coming months.

The Tokyo-based archeologists have written messages on each of the tops to motivate finders. They’ll be placing 200 tops into various Japanese waterways each two months. Archeologists say the project will take 20 months to complete. They are hoping to determine where Japan’s roots originated, and are using the water studies to perhaps learn migration patterns from ancient times.

In addition to tops found at Yonaguni Town in the first wave, 18 were discovered in Central Okinawa. The Archeological Study Group is asking finders to please call them, telling them exactly where and when the top was discovered. Web pages on the internet are being developed to aid in the tracking effort.

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