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Landscape from Long Ago Revealed by Ancient Artifacts

Artifacts uncovered in archaeological excavations give us insights into the ways of life of ancient people. However, it is also important to understand that the landscape where such artifacts were uncovered may have been different to what it is now.

For example, in the mid-Jomon Period (around 6,000 years ago) the climate was much warmer than it is today, and the sea level was around 2-3 meters higher (Holocene glacial retreat). This means that a considerable amount of the flat land we see today was underwater. Naturally, this explains why remains of shellfish and fish bones left behind by ancient people have been discovered quite far inland rather than right by the coast. Similarly, remains of residences and ancient shrines from the Jomon period are only found in slightly hilly areas.

Unfortunately there are not many ways to determine exactly how high the sea-level reached during this time. However, by examining remains of habitation and vestiges of the way of life of ancient people, we can also gain insights into how the environment has changed over time.

Coastline during the Holocene glacial retreat, Jomon Period remains and current settlements.

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