Sannai-Maruyama Site: Explore the Ancient Jomon Period Settlement in Aomori

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  • In the northernmost part of Honshu lies a completely preserved ancient settlement dating back to the Jomon Period. These were incidentally discovered in 1992 upon surveying the site for a new baseball stadium. With the start of excavations, it further led to the discovery of burial pits and enough information on the ancient settlement above ground.

    Sannai-Maruyama is the name of an archaeological site which began settling in 3900 BCE. The houses of the first settlers were described as pit-like and only 3-4 meters in diameter. More than 500 pit dwellings have been discovered together with some underground pits where they stored their food. They were living an active lifestyle wherein most of the time they left the site. As years passed by, they became sedentary which also changed the way they stored their food, as they began storing it above ground. At this time, long houses started showing up with the longest one having a measurement of 32 meters.

    Recreation of the Site

    As more evidence was discovered, many researchers agreed to bring the settlement back to life. Now you will see many buildings made of mud, thatch and wood. These were built above the ancient remains in order to recreate the location. Everything was perfected as if they had only been built yesterday.

    Tall long houses are visibly seen next to the dugouts and you may also find wooden towers peering through the settlement.

    Interpretation of the Site

    Many researchers interpreted the site by basing it on the ancient people’s lifestyle. It was believed to be inhabited by hunters in the beginning which gradually adapted to a mobile society and ended up as a village. These were evidently seen in the natural resources and storage facilities that were used. The change is brought about by the sedentary lifestyle of the evolving people. Finally, they just wanted to settle and not move around looking for food anymore.

    Sannai Maruyama is interestingly fun for visitors to learn a little bit more about history. It is open to the public and has also been declared as national historic landmark site.

    Sannai-Maruyama Website


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