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Bronze relic molds found in Japan could be oldest of their kind

Bronze relic molds found in Japan could be oldest of their kind

Tokyo, Dec 5 (EFE).- Relics that include stone molds to make bronze artifacts were discovered in the ruins of Yoshinogari, in the western prefecture of Saga, Japan, and could be the oldest of their kind in the country, Japanese media reported Tuesday.

One of the molds found could date back to 200 BC, the local government said.

The area where the excavations have been carried out is known as “the mysterious area,” as it remained intact until last year because there was a sanctuary there.

“It is an extremely significant discovery for understanding the various characteristics of the ruins’ structure and changes,” a prefectural official said.

The discovery comes after excavations carried out between September and October and after a stone coffin that would have belonged to a high-status person was discovered in the area in April.

The coffin led archaeologists to wonder who was buried there, causing uproar, as there is a dispute over where the ancient Yamatai kingdom was located.

Since no human bones or funerary accessories were found that would provide clues to the identity of the individual or the specific period in which he was buried, researchers were unable to find an answer.

As a result of the work begun in September, archeologists have found elements made in the Yayoi period of Japanese history (between 300 BC and 300 AD) that could be the oldest of this kind in the country.

Among the pieces located are foundry molds made of serpentinite and quartz porphyry and a clay vessel used as a container for molten metal.

The molds, found in a range of about five meters northwest and about ten meters south and southwest of the point where the coffin was found, would have been used to cast swords and spears, according to Saga authorities.

Yoshinogari ruins archaeologist Chuhei Takashima said switching to using quartz porphyry instead of serpentinite as a stone mold could be technology derived directly from the Korean Peninsula.

The discoveries “add more significance to Yoshinogari, which was the site of manufacture of bronze artifacts in Japan and the point of introduction of the most advanced technology at that time,” the archaeologist added.

The ruins were designated a national historic site in 1991 and are open to the public as Yoshinogari Historical Park. EFE


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