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Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan

Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan

The property consists of 17 archaeological sites in the southern part of Hokkaido Island and northern Tohoku in geographical settings ranging from mountains and hills to plains and lowlands, from inland bays to lakes, and rivers. They bear a unique testimony to the development over some 10,000 years of the pre-agricultural yet sedentary Jomon culture and its complex spiritual belief system and rituals. It attests to the emergence, development, maturity and adaptability to environmental changes of a sedentary hunter-fisher-gatherer society which developed from about 13,000 BCE. Expressions of Jomon spirituality were given tangible form in objects such as lacquered pots, clay tablets with the impression of feet, the famous goggle eyed dogu figurines, as well as in ritual places including earthworks and large stone circles reaching diameters of more than 50 metres. The serial property testifies to the rare and very early development of pre-agricultural sedentism from emergence to maturity.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Sites préhistoriques Jomon dans le nord du Japon

Ce bien rassemble 17 sites archéologiques situés dans le sud de l’île d’Hokkaido et le nord de la région de Tohoku situés des paysages variés : montagnes, collines, plaines et basses terres, baies intérieures, lacs et rivières. Ils constituent un témoignage unique du développement, sur une période de 10 000 ans, de la culture préagricole toutefois sédentaire Jomon, de son système complexe de croyances spirituelles et de ses rituels. Ce site témoigne de l’émergence, du développement et de l’adaptabilité aux changements environnementaux d’une société de chasseurs, pêcheurs, cueilleurs sédentaires qui se développa à partir de 13000 ans AEC environ. La dimension spirituelle des Jomon s’est matérialisée par des pots laqués, des tablettes d’argile avec l’empreinte de pieds ainsi que les fameuses figurines dogu (poupées d’argile) à « lunettes de neige », ainsi que des sites rituels tels que des ouvrages en terre et de grands cercles de pierres atteignant des diamètres de plus de 50 mètres. Ce bien sériel témoigne du développement rare et très ancien d’une sédentarisation préagricole, de son émergence à sa maturité.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

مواقع جومون من حقبة ما قبل التاريخ في شمال اليابان

يتألَّف هذا الموقع من 17 موقعاً أثرياً، ويقع في الجزء الجنوبي من جزيرة هوكايدو وشمال منطقة توهوكو، ضمن مشهد جغرافي يتنوع بين الجبال والتلال والسهول والأراضي المنخفضة، والخلجان الداخلية والبحيرات والأنهار. وتعتبر هذه المواقع شاهدة فريدة على التطور الذي طرأ عبر 10 آلاف عام على ثقافة شعب جومون الذين كانوا مستقرين في المنطقة على الرغم من أنَّهم كانوا يعيشون مرحلة ما قبل الزراعة، وعلى منظومة معتقداتهم وطقوسهم الروحية المعقدة. كما أنَّها تشهد على نشأة مجتمع مستقر يعتمد على الصيد البري وصيد الأسماك وجمع الثمار في الألف الثالث عشر قبل الميلاد، وعلى تطور هذا المجتمع ونضجه وتكيُّفه مع التغيرات البيئية. وكان شعب جومون يعبرعن روحانيته من خلال أغراض يصنعها مثل الأواني المطلية والألواح الطينية التي تحمل طبعة أقدام، ودمية "دوغو" المشهورة ذات العينين الجاحظتين، وكذلك كان يعبر عنها من خلال حفر الأرض وإنشاء دوائر كبيرة من الأحجار يتجاوز قطرها الخمسين متراً. وتشهد هذه الممتلكات المتسلسلة على التطور النادر والضارب في القدم للاستقرار خلال فترة ما قبل الزراعة، وذلك منذ نشأته حتى وصوله إلى مرحلة النضج.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

日本北部的绳纹史前遗址群

绳纹史前遗址群由北海道南部和东北地方北部的17个考古遗址组成,覆盖从山区和丘陵到平原和低地、从内陆海湾到湖泊河流的多样化地理环境。它们见证了进入农耕社会之前就已定居下来的绳纹文化及其复杂的精神信仰体系和仪式在过去一万多年的发展。该遗址群还展现了从公元前13000年左右发展起来的以狩猎-捕鱼-采集为基础的定居社会的产生、发展、成熟和对环境变化的适应。这里有绳纹人精神信仰的承载实物,如漆壶、有足印的泥板、著名的目镜粘土俑(dogu),以及包括土垒和直径超过50米的大石圈在内的仪式场所。这一系列遗迹展示了罕见的农耕前定居社会从出现到成熟的极早期发展。

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Доисторические памятники Дзёмон на севере Японии

Этот объект состоит из 17 археологических памятников в южной части острова Хоккайдо и северной части Тохоку, расположенных в различных географических районах - от гор и холмов до равнин и низменностей, от внутренних заливов до озер и рек. Эти памятники являются уникальным свидетельством развития на протяжении около 10000 лет доземледельческой, но оседлой культуры Дзёмон и ее сложной системы духовных верований и ритуалов. Они также свидетельствуют о возникновении, развитии, зрелости и приспособляемости к изменениям окружающей среды оседлого общества охотников-рыболовов-собирателей, которое развивалось примерно с 13000 до н.э. Выражения духовности Дзёмон обрели осязаемую форму в таких предметах, как лакированные горшки, глиняные таблички с оттиском ног, знаменитые фигурки догу с выпученными глазами, а также в ритуальных местах, включая земляные валы и большие каменные круги, достигающие в диаметре более 50 метров. Серийный объект свидетельствует о редком и очень раннем развитии доземледельческого оседлого образа жизни.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Sitios prehistóricos jomon en el norte de Japón

El sitio consta de 17 yacimientos arqueológicos en el sur de la isla de Hokkaido y el norte de Tohoku, en entornos geográficos que van desde montañas y colinas hasta llanuras y tierras bajas, desde bahías interiores hasta lagos y ríos. Son un testimonio único del desarrollo, a lo largo de unos 10.000 años, de la cultura preagrícola pero sedentaria de la cultura jomon y de su complejo sistema de creencias espirituales y rituales. Atestiguan la aparición, el desarrollo, la madurez y la adaptabilidad a los cambios medioambientales de una sociedad sedentaria de cazadores-pescadores-recolectores que se desarrolló a partir de aproximadamente 13.000 años a.C. Las expresiones de la espiritualidad jomon se plasmaron en objetos como vasijas lacadas, tablillas de arcilla con las huellas de los pies, las famosas figurillas dogu de ojos prominentes, así como en lugares rituales que incluyen terraplenes y grandes círculos de piedra que alcanzan diámetros de más de 50 metros. El sitio en serie corrobora el desarrollo raro y muy temprano del sedentarismo preagrícola desde su aparición hasta su apogeo.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

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Sannai Maruyama Site © Sannai Maruyama Jomon Culture Center
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan consists of 17 archaeological sites that represent the pre-agricultural lifeways and complex spiritual culture of a prehistoric people. Located on the southern part of Hokkaido Island and across the Tsugaru Strait on the northern part of the Tohoku region, this serial property attests to the emergence, development, and maturity of a sedentary hunter-fisher-gatherer society that developed in Northeast Asia from about 13,000 BCE to 400 BCE. The series of settlements, burial areas, ritual and ceremonial sites, stone circles, and earthworks is located in a variety of landforms such as mountains, hills, plains, and lowlands, as well as near inner bays, lakes, and rivers.

This area of northern Japan had rich arborous and aquatic resources, with deciduous broad-leaved forests that featured abundant nut-bearing trees, as well as ideal fishing conditions created by the intersection of warm and cold currents off the coast. Over a period of more than 10,000 years, the Jomon people continued hunter-fisher-gatherer lifeways without changing to an agrarian culture, adapting to environmental changes such as climate warming and cooling and the corresponding marine transgression and regression.

The Jomon people initiated a sedentary way of life about 15,000 years ago, as indicated tentatively at first by the use of pottery, and later by the construction of more permanent dwellings and ritual sites, and the year-round exploitation of nearby resources. Already in the very early stage of sedentary life, the Jomon people developed a complex spiritual culture. They made graves and also created ritual deposits, artificial earthen mounds, and stone circles that were probably used for rituals and ceremonies, and confirmed a social bond across the generations and between the settlements.

Criterion (iii): The Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan bears exceptional testimony to a globally rare prehistoric sedentary hunter-fisher-gatherer society which nurtured a complex spiritual culture, as revealed by archaeological artefacts such as clay tablets with the impression of feet and the famous goggle-eyed dogu figurines, as well as remains including graves, ritual deposits, artificial earthen mounds, and stone circles.

Criterion (v): The Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan are an outstanding example of sedentary modes of settlement and land-use from the emergence of sedentism through its subsequent development and ultimate maturity. The Jomon people maintained an enduring hunter-fisher-gatherer way of life by adapting to a changing climate without altering the land significantly, as was the case with agrarian societies. To secure food in a stable manner, diverse locations were selected for settlements, including near rivers where fish swimming upstream could be caught, in tidelands where brackish shellfish could be gathered, and near colonies of nut-bearing trees where nuts and berries could be collected. Skills and tools for obtaining food were developed in accordance with the specific conditions of different locations.

Integrity

The integrity of the serial property is based on archaeological remains that exemplify the cultural traits and site types of the ancient Jomon culture in northern Japan. The property is comprised of archaeological sites that show the initiation of sedentism and the eventual separation between the residential area and burial areas; sites that show the diversity of settlement facilities during the warm marine transgression period, as well as hub settlements that have ritual places; and sites that demonstrate the maturity of sedentism through stone circles, cemeteries, and settlements. The sites also include, to a degree, their interaction with the environment. The component parts of the serial property are of adequate size individually, and as a group they include all important archaeological remains that constitute settlements and ceremonial spaces as well as landforms or features showing their locations and environment. The serial property is protected by law and does not suffer from the negative impacts of natural disasters or large-scale developments. There are, however, several modern constructions, referred to as “non-compliant elements”, that have impacts on the views to and/or from the component parts. Plans to mitigate such impacts by planting tree covers, for example, or by removing the non-compliant elements in the future have been developed.

Authenticity

The serial property maintains a high level of authenticity in terms of locations, forms and designs, materials and substances, uses and functions, traditions and techniques, and spirit and feeling, most of the archaeological remains having been buried untouched for thousands of years; some remains, such as stone circles, are visible above ground. The archaeological remains can thus be said to credibly and truthfully convey the Outstanding Universal Value of the property as relates to the ancient Jomon culture in northern Japan.

In some cases, local authorities have developed life-size interpretive models of some key features, especially pit dwellings and shell middens. These models are intended to help explain to visitors some of the authentic elements that are otherwise concealed under a protective layer of soil. While the life-size models are presented as replicas, not reconstructions, and constructed so as not to have any impact on the archaeological deposits, new technologies are nevertheless explored to help visitors visualize some of the authentic archaeological features that must remain buried.

Protection and management requirements

All component parts of the property are designated and protected under the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties as Historic Sites or Special Historic Sites, and strict long-term measures for protection and conservation are in place. In addition, an appropriate buffer zone has been delineated around each component part in which legal regulatory measures are in place to control activities with a view to ensuring the proper protection of the property.

A Comprehensive Preservation and Management Plan sets out the basic policies for sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value, authenticity, and integrity of the serial property in its entirety. Based on this plan, the Council for the Preservation and Utilization of World Heritage Jomon Prehistoric Sites and other organizations have been established. The conservation and management of the component parts is promoted in a comprehensive manner under the supervision of the national government of Japan and in coordination with other related organizations. The local and prefectural governments in Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, and Akita in charge of each component part have developed individual management and utilization plans and have also incorporated the conservation, management, and utilization of the individual component parts in their basic administrative plans. The state of conservation of the individual component parts is monitored periodically and systematically, based on specific key indicators.

The key issue that requires long-term attention is that six of the component parts include privately owned areas. Acquiring the entirety of each component part will better ensure the implementation of correct and timely conservation activities.