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).
38 exploit the obsidian beds of the Wada Pass, high up in the massif. By the time the village of Tanabatake was well established several of the houses contained stockpiles of obsidian, suggesting that the inhabitants had secured some form of control over the procurement and distribution of this highly sought- after material. During the Middle Jomon Tanabatake flourished as one of many large long- lived Jomon villages in the area, which included Togariishi, Idojiri and one of the earliest, at Akyu, a short distance to the south- west. The settlement at Tanabatake, like so many other Middle Jomon sites across eastern Japan, comprised clusters of buildings, perhaps ten or more occupied at any one time, their floors dug out to create a shallow pit, into which a number of posts were set to support a thatched roof ( fig. 20). Most of the buildings, which had an average floor area of about 5 sq. m, contained a fireplace, often surrounded by riverbed stones; into these was set a small standing stone with a rounded head that some suggest is a phallus. These buildings were probably the homes of family groups. The houses were arranged in an arc- shape around a relatively clear central space; this formed the focal point of the community. It also contained the pit in which the Tanabatake figurine was buried, reflecting the importance of doguto the Jomon people. Towards the end of the occupation of Tanabatake, around 3,500 years ago, the village took on a rather different character. At about this time the climate cooled and the environment around the south- western slopes of Yatsugatake became less productive. This had a major impact on the various communities living on the slopes, who were dependent on the rich harvests that had supported them for so long. Stone monuments began to be constructed in larger numbers, and it seems that particular activities, including doguburial, increased at the site, suggesting that the appeasing of spirits such as ancestors was becoming ever more important. Eventually, however, the settlement of Tanabatake was abandoned in the first part of the Late Jomon period. Exactly what led to these changes is unknown, but most scholars argue that there was a collapse of the societies that had flourished on the slopes through the Middle Jomon. Most of the Jomon sites ( around 80 per cent) that now lie under the modern city of Chino date to the Middle Jomon, and less than 30 per cent were occupied during the Late Jomon. Yet recent investigations have suggested that the region as a whole was not completely abandoned, and that the ' collapse' was not necessarily a sudden event. A number of settlements continued to be occupied. One of these was at Nakappara, one of just a handful of known Late Jomon sites that were occupied for more than a single pottery phase ( figs 21 and 22). In total, twenty- three buildings were excavated at Nakappara, and this again sets this village apart from the majority of Late Jomon sites in the area, which are more often recognized from accumulations of artefacts than from any structures. It is possible that Nakappara took on the role of the large village sites, such as Tanabatake, and perhaps that is why the masked dogufigure was buried there, a reflection of the increased status of its surroundings. Doubtless the slopes of the Yatsugatake volcanic massif have many other buried secrets still to be given up. But the discoveries at Tanabatake and Nakappara have confirmed the region's status as one of the great centres of the Jomon archipelago. As the present book shows, Jomon clay figures mean different things to different people: Jomon foragers themselves, the Edo- period antiquaries who Fig. 21 The site of Nakappara in Nagano prefecture. Even after many settlements were abandoned, Jomon people living on the south- western slopes of Mt Yatsugatake continued to bury occasional dogu masterpieces. Fig. 20 The site of Tanabatake in Nagano prefecture. One of the finest doguknown ( cat. 3) was discovered carefully buried in a pit at the centre of one of the residential areas of this large Middle Jomon settlement.