21 July, 2013

Survey in the Kikai-jima

From July 17th (Thu) to 19th (Fri), I conducted a survey in the Kikai-jima, Kagoshima Prefecture.

In this survey, I observed stone tools excavated from the Kuzuri site in Kikai-cho, and they were used in the Late and Final Jomon periods. I took samples from 13 tools containing stone querns and grinding stones. Also I took samples from stone artefacts found from the Kawajiri and Yamada-handa sites.

The Kawadera site, which is located near the Kuzuri site, is now excavated. This settlement site was occupied at around 13-14 Centuries, and many structures and artefacts were unearthed from this site. 

The excavation of the Kuzuri site was already finished, and we cannot check the stratigraphic profiles now. For my reference, I was able to see some soil layers at the Kawadera site.

Before the excavation, the Kuzuri site was covered with sugar cane fields. When I walked around the Kuzuri site, many sugar canes were found in the removed soils. In order to check any contaminated problems, as my reference collection, I collected modern plants of Saccharum officinarum and Alocasia odora.


I already collected Alocasia odora in the survey in Okinawa. In order to look at starch granules from an immature tuber of Alocasia odora, I collected its young plant.

I conducted a public lecture "Ancient diet interpreted by starch granules" at the Kikai-cho office from 18:00 on July 18th (Thu). To about 60 residents, I indicated the results of my starch studies, and I received a flood of questions. From my impression, these attendees had many interests of starch residue analysis.

The left photo shows fuwari itame, which was a fried stem of Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott var. aquatilis (Hassk.) Kitam. Ex M. Hotta. I have had a cooked stem of taro. This food was very different and tasty.

I have very few experiences of surveys in the southern islands, and so I cannot expect any results of this survey. After this survey result, I will make a continuing review of the Kuzuri site.

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