Kanedori Site

Home | Index by Charles T. Keally
May 1, 2004
last revised: May 3, 2004

Location: Miyamori Village, Iwate Prefecture
Excavations: 1985, 2003
Date: Stratum 2: 23,580±450 BP (Gak-13090)
Stratum 3: 50 ka (confirmed)
Stratum 4: 85 ka (confirmed)
Summary: Stratum 2 yielded 2 flakes in the 1985 excavation (Kikuchi et al. 2001). Stratum 3 yielded 31 lithics, including an ax, a discoidal core, a chopper, 6 scrapers, 13 flakes, 5 chips and 3 burnt pebbles. Stratum 4 yielded 9 lithics -- an ax, 2 scrapers, 3 choppers, 1 chopping tool, 1 flake and 1 chip, and a clump of 18 charcoal fragments. But the 2003 excavations found no human artifacts in either stratum.

The dates have been confirmed by 14C, TL and tephra chronology. The dates of the tephras in Stratum 4 range from 110 ka to 85 ka. The artifacts were close to the Aso 4 tephra, dated 85 ka. A tephra dated 50 ka was found in the lower part of Stratum 3.


Kobayashi Tatsuo (Shizen Shuho 2003) feels the Kanedori lithics are valid artifacts and accurately dated -- "The lithics have no repeated forms, like those preceding the advent of standardized stone tools. They are convincing as lithics older than 30,000 years." He (Kanedori 2003) goes on to say, these artifacts, dates and interpretations "are the results of careful excavation and study, and are the expectable results. I [Kobayashi] think this site should be given special attention among the very few old sites. These recent results will likely make Kanedori the type-site for this period."

Tozawa Mitsunori (Ito 2004) also seems to feel the Kanedori lithics are valid and accurately dated: "Proper academic study confirming the age has a great meaning. This marks the start of studying cultures older than 30,000 years ago."

Takeoka Toshiki (2004) feels the Kanedori lithics from the oldest stratum are certainly (n=3) or probably (n=4) natural geofacts rather than human artifacts. The 8th lithic is definitely an artifact, he says, but he feels it is probably intrusive from a younger stratum.

My interpretation is that the oldest lithics are geofacts.


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