Hasamiyama Remains (はさみ山遺跡)

Located in Fujiidera City, Osaka Prefecture, the Hasamiyama Remains are compound remains where remains and relics in various periods from the Paleolithic period (in Japan) to the early-modern times have been found. Nationally, the remains are known as a place where the oldest-in-Japan dwelling site was found, and in particular, the structure of a dwelling in the latter part of the Paleolithic period was made clear there.

Locations of the remains and findings

Hasamiyama Remains spread over a vast area of Fujidera-kodan, Nonaka and Fujigaoka in Fujiidera City in the southeastern part of Osaka Prefecture, and are located on a terrace spreading at the foot of the Habikino hills. The remains and the area surrounding them are on a gentle slope. In 1974, the remains were found while the Osaka outside loop-line was being constructed. After that, the board of education of Osaka Prefecture and that of Fujiidera City have continued investigating the site.

The dwelling site in the latter part of the Paleolithic period

Investigations based on excavations conducted in 1986 revealed the structure of a dwelling in the latter part of the Paleolithic period. The dwelling was an approx. 30-cm-deep half-ground type (tateanajukyogun [a pit dwelling]), and was structured as follows: Around the sunken place, column pits in a diameter of 14 to 22cm were provided in intervals of 1.0 to 1.7m, and a ditch was provided around the dwelling place. The dwelling was in a round shape of approx. 6m in diameter, and it is presumed that 13 column were provided. The column pits were dug slanted towards the center of the circle, in an angle in which the wooden poles inserted there would be met above the center of the circle. In other words, a cone-shaped pit dwelling with a diameter of approx. six meters could be restored. As relics, knife-shaped stone tools, exfoliated wing-shaped stone tools, and cores, used in around 20,000 years BC, were unearthed.

On the east side of the dwelling site across a swamp, a 279cm by 160cm elliptic doko (hole on the earth) was found, and it is presumed that the hole was a grave (doko grave).

The jomon period - the kofun (tumulus) period

Not many remains and relics in the jomon and Yayoi periods were found, but the place is included, together with adjacent Habikino City, in the area where huge keyhole-shaped tumuli totally called Furuichi tumuli were constructed in the kofun period. In particular, both 103m long Hazamiyama tumulus and the 154m long Nonaka Miyayama tumulus exist entirely within the area of this remains, and it is considered that they had some relations to the formation of communities in ancient times and later. The Hazamiyama tumulus, whose front part faces the east, is considered having been constructed in the middle era of the fifth century, while the Nonaka Miyayama tumulus, whose front part faces the west, is considered having been built in the first half of the fifth century. Both of them were constructed in parallel, though facing in the opposite direction with each other, and it is supposed that the persons buried there were intimate. Grave goods, such as cylindrical haniwa (unglazed terra-cotta cylinders and hollow sculptures arranged on and around the mounded tombs [kofun]), have been unearthed as well in the Hasamiyama Remains spreading around the two tumuli. It was found that some of the cylindrical haniwa were used as the frames of wells, attracting people's attention.

The Asuka period - the Muromachi period

As remains in the middle era of the Asuka period, as many as 46 dug-standing pillar buildings were found when investigations were conducted in 2003, attracting people's attention. In particular, of them, a big building with an eave on each of the four sides, which was found in the southern part of the area investigated, is worthy of notice. Not only its floor was spacious, but it was also provided with small-sized subsidiary buildings and a sobashira-type (with pillars inside a house as well) building presumed a warehouse. In addition, a line of pillars, considered having constituted a fence, and a ditch, considered having been a small-sized moat, were provided around the area. Therefore, it is pointed out that the building might have been facilities related to kanga (a government office) or a residence of a gozoku (Gozoku [local ruling family]).

A large-scaled community existed there in the Nara and the Heian periods, and many remains and relics in these periods have also have been found. Fujii-dera Temple in the northwest of the remains, in which the area name of Fujiidera originated, was considered having been the Uji-dera temple (temple built for praying clan's glory) of the Fujii (Shirai) clan. Lots of haji-ki pottery and su-ki pottery (both are earthenware but made in different ways, with the former reddish-colored and the latter grayish-colored). On many of them, something was written in black ink, and the pots or tsuki (a kind of bowls) containing lacquer have also been unearthed. Metal fittings for belts worn by government officers in the eighth century have also been unearthed, and this fact suggests that powerful persons with a governmental rank or government officers existed. The community remaining as the remains was active until the Kamakura period or the Muromachi period. From investigations based on excavation, the following were found: Dug-standing pillar buildings, warehouses, wells, ditches for partitioning the land area or for drainage, and holes to store water or to dump garbage.

From these facts, it is known that the area around the Hazamiyama tumulus and Nonaka Miyayama tumulus was surrounded by a community after the kofun period. Dug-standing pillar buildings became to be built even in the area close to these tumuli. It is pointed out that this fact indicates that people's thinking about tumuli after the kofun period became different from that in the kofun period. It is considered that the change in the thinking originated in the formation of a new social order.

The Nashida spot

It is considered that in the Paleolithic period, people's lives were mobile, and they were likely to live in caves or behind rocks, and that therefore, such a site as the Hasamiyama Remains was quite rare in that period. As a matter of fact, this spot was found in the place where Masataka NASHIDA, having been at that time a catcher of Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, a professional baseball team, planned to build his house.
Therefore, the spot where the dwelling and doko in the Paleolithic period were found is called 'The Nashida spot of the Hasamiyama Remains.'
Then the following development was made: Investigations based on excavation were conducted, the design of the house was modified, and the remains has been kept underground. The cross section of the earth layers cut out of the dwelling site in the Paleolithic period is exhibited in Osaka Prefecture Chikatsu-Asuka Museum as a historical material.

Other dwellings in the Paleolithic period

The Kamiguchi A Remains (in Tanno-cho, Tokoro County, Hokkaido)

The Nakamoto Remains (in Tokoro-cho, Kitami City, Hokkaido)

The Komagata Remains (in Nagano Prefecture)

The Ecchuyama Remains (in Yamagata Prefecture)

The Nishi-gagara Remains (in Hiroshima Prefecture)

The Shinokiyama Remains (in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture)

The Uwaba Remains (in Izumi City, Kagoshima Prefecture)

It has been reported that remains of a tateanajukyo (pit dwelling) in the Paleolithic period or those with such a possibility were found in the remains described above. Except the Shinokiyama Remains and Hasamiyama Remains that belong to the knife-shaped stone tool-using culture period, all of the other remains belong to the microlithic culture period that followed.

These remains have been determined belonging to the Paleolithic period based on the stone tools unearthed there. However, it cannot be said that they are definitely examples of remains in the Paleolithic period, because the elements of a dwelling site, such as the floor layout of such a pit dwelling, the column pits and the furnace, lack consistency and because some of them were not found from the earth layers that can be identified clearly as those in the Paleolithic period.

[Original Japanese]