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A Jomon Period Archeological Site

ear ornament
Ear Ornaments excavated from the Chiamigaido Site in Kawauchi
The Chiamigaido site is located in the Kawauchi district of Kiryu where the Yamada Creek flows into the Watarase River. From this site many Jomon Period (ca. 10,500 BC to ca. 400 BC) artifacts have been excavated which indicate that it was a Late - Final Jomon settlement (ca. 2500 BC to 300 BC).
The many stone tools and bone artifacts found here make this site a particularly rich provenance. In addition to the stone and bone implements which were discovered, the earthenware ear ornaments are of particular interest and value. The intricate designs and technical skills involved in crafting these ear ornaments is quite amazing to behold.

At Chiamigaido, some of the ear ornaments are very large - approximately 9.6 centimeters in diameter. One cannot help but be impressed bu their artistry. These elaborately carved pulley-shaped clay ornaments were colored a bright vermillion and were worn in the earlobe. Various sizes exist, indicating that the earlobe was perforated and then gradually stretched over time until it became large enough to accommodate the 9 cm. size ornaments.

"At Chiamigaido more than one thousand small and medium sized ear ornaments were discovered in a confined area, which suggests that it may have been a workshop. Only certain sites among the many of the Final Jomon have yielded hundreds of ear ornaments...

The specificity of their locations suggests that ear ornaments were made as a specialized craft as early as the Jomon Period by people who lived in certain limited settlements. It is interesting, moreover, that common or astonishingly similar design elements are found from sites hundreds of miles apart. Perhaps the Jomon artists who were competitively developing their skills in the craft were in much closer contact with each other than we would imagine.

Such exchange would allow artists to acquire information for making larger and more exquisite ear ornaments. Even though neither class differentiation nor full-time occupational specialization seems to have existted during the Jomon Period, specialized workers began to emerge at that time."

- Harada Masayuki

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