36 Turning off shortly before the ShakadoService Area on the Central Expressway from Tokyo to Nagoya, one drives along a series of ever- narrowing roads through some of the best wine- producing areas of Japan. Nestled among the picturesque vineyards is the ShakadoMuseum of Jomon Culture, overlooking the place where in 1980 and 1981 another complex of Jomon settlements, thought to present a series of four neighbouring hamlets, was excavated prior to the construction of the motorway services. These four hamlets, named Tsukanoshita A and B, Sankojindaira and Noronohara, cover over five hectares. The earliest occupation on the fan- shaped terrace came at the end of the Initial Jomon, and there was some limited occupation, including a small number of buildings, during the Early Jomon. But the main period of activity at Shakadowas in the Middle Jomon. As at Sannai Maruyama, different phases of occupation were recognized, and in addition to over 200 pit houses, earthen pits, probably used for burial, and extensive dump areas were found. Unlike Sannai Maruyama, however, there were no traces of raised- floor buildings, large long- houses, or a massive post- built structure. In addition to everyday tools, including thousands of chipped axes, arrowheads, querns for grinding and scrapers and pointed drills for processing animal skins, all fashioned from stone, and small numbers of fishing tools, such as sinkers and floats for nets, a relatively large number of ceramic objects were found. Some would seem to indicate that belief systems played an important role in the lives of the inhabitants. Elaborate rim pieces from pottery vessels were modelled after human and animal heads, fragments of flanged and perforated vessels were perhaps used in the preparation of alcoholic beverages or as drums ( or both), and ceramic pedestals may have been used for special offerings. Miniature pottery vessels, most just a few centimetres high, were also discovered, together with a handful of animal figurines, large quantities of round clay discs that may have been used in games or perhaps for some form of toilet function, a ceramic lamp, and small numbers of clay flutes, rattles and balls. This assemblage of ritualistic objects was completed by twenty- eight polished stone bars from the Sankojindaira hamlet, dating to the end of the Middle Jomon, and a small number of standing stones from inside the late Middle Jomon houses. 25It is within one of the later phases of the Middle Jomon, shortly before the demise of these large settlements complexes, that we see the main development and use of standing stones and polished stone bars in houses ( see fig. 42, p. 57). This period of high activity is in keeping with what Habu Junko and Ogasawara Masayuki reported from Sannai Maruyama, 26where dogufigurines were made and used throughout its occupation but in especially large numbers just before it was abandoned. Tanabatake and Nakappara: sites of buried bodies Around 4,000 years ago, in the centre of a Jomon village on the south- western slopes of the Yatsugatake volcanic massif in central Honshu, a group of Jomon foragers placed a complete ceramic figure on its side in a pit and gently covered it with earth ( cat. 3). Some 500 years later, a short distance to the south- west, another, possibly smaller group of Jomon villagers buried another ceramic figure in the ground, this time possibly wrapped in the arms of a deceased member of the village ( fig. 22). Close by, a finely crafted ceramic dish was placed. These two acts of deposition, at the sites of Tanabatake and Nakappara respectively,
Encountering dogu35 fragments were recovered from Shakado( including cat. 5) and over 1,600 from Sannai Maruyama ( including cats 6 and 12). Most of these fragments came from different dogu, and even though both settlement complexes were excavated on a large scale, using detailed recovery and recording techniques, many parts remained missing. Since the great majority of doguare found in fragments, it is possible that they were broken deliberately before being discarded. Some scholars have suggested that they were manufactured in such a way as to be easily broken as part of particular ritual performances, whereas others propose that they simply broke along natural weaknesses ( see p. 57). Sannai Maruyama was investigated intensively between 1992 and 1994. In the course of the excavations, however, it became apparent that the archaeologists were dealing with no ordinary Jomon settlement, many of which are known elsewhere in Aomori. The remains of over 700 pit buildings were discovered: a series of raised- floor buildings that may have served as storage facilities, a large structure supported by six huge chestnut posts, the remains of which survived in the ground, and extensive ' rubbish' deposits containing a rich assemblage of artefacts. Hundreds of burial jars and grave pits were also revealed. Adults were buried in grave pits, many of which were arranged in a linear fashion leading away from the main settlement area, two rows of graves possibly with some kind of processional way in between. Although there were not many grave goods, and no human bones survived, some of these graves were marked by arrangements of river cobbles. At Sannai Maruyama, dead infants are thought to have been buried in urns entombed in the settlement area used by the living, as opposed to adult inhumations, which were set apart from the main occupied areas. Like so many key aspects of human life, childbirth and child- rearing were both constrained and enabled by social conventions. 23In small- scale societies such as the Jomon, many mothers would have been relatively young, and their children would have stood a much smaller chance of survival than in a modern environment. ono Nobutaro's proposal - that dogufashioned in female form were intended as representations of deities to be invoked to ensure safe childbirth - would seem to be entirely appropriate. A number of Jomon skeletons reveal what are interpreted as parturition scars on the pelvic bones ( fig. 18). Many archaeologists have argued that parturition in the Jomon perhaps took place in small buildings, slightly away from the main settlement area, and that placentas were placed in special pots buried beneath the floors of the buildings, so keeping these material traces of the act of childbirth in close proximity to the living. Radiocarbon dating shows that the site was occupied for nearly 2,000 years, and careful analysis of pottery styles has demonstrated that the complex was occupied at different levels of intensity, with varying population levels, over a number of different pottery phases. Nearly all the figurine fragments were recovered from the Middle Jomon midden areas. 24Curiously, large numbers of doguwere being produced here at a time when many large settlements in other regions were being abandoned. After this period, however, we witness a dramatic reduction in the size of the settlement, and in the elements that comprised the stone tool assemblages. This indicates a shift in subsistence practices possibly relating to climate change, with accompanying shifts in the types and amounts of foodstuffs available. Analysis of the Sannai Maruyama figures continues. Fig. 18 A Middle Jomon dogufrom Shakado, Yamanashi prefecture, thought to indicate a figure giving birth, the head of the infant appearing between the legs of the mother ( h: 7.8 cm).