Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hyuga Ancient Era (2500 BC to 300 AD)

Kumaso Pit Dwelling Replica in Saito

The first verifiable signs of civilization in Hyuga were in about 2500 BC.  Middens (the archaeological term for ancient trash dumps) reveal that stone tools were used, flint arrows were chipped out, and the diet of the people consisted of mostly gathered vegetables, fruit, nuts, and what could be hunted.
Clothing made of fur was worn.  Cave paintings that exist in the Nambu Heiyabu (Saito), Hokubu Heiyabu (Nobeoka), Nambu Yamazoi (Miyakonojo), and Hokubu Yamazoi (Takachiho) areas show that the people also fished in rivers and used spears to catch fish standing on the rock formations along the coastal areas.  Due to no basket weaving or signs of pottery the people were nomadic and moved frequently.
The plentiful caves in the area of Hyuga provided the bulk of shelter.  About 300 BC a change is noticed quite abruptly.  Pottery began to flourish.  The pottery is very similar to the pottery found at the same time in southern China.  Evidence of agriculture, use and making of metal tools (copper and tin), cattle rearing, and use of horses and ox plows begins to be seen at this time.

(In light of new evidence and research please see The Kumaso Jan. 3, 2011)
It is believed this is the emergence of the Kumaso in the region after migrating from present day Kagoshima and Kumamoto Prefectures.  The same evidence of the pottery and shift to agrarian lifestyle pose evidence for this belief.  Paintings and carvings also show that tattooing and cord weaving also came to be introduced at the time.  These are serious shifts in lifestyle and culture.
Further evidence is from written Chinese records of the time, “The people of the area have much hair, the men wear furs and skins over woven cloth, and the women wear their hair up with a long wooden pin holding it in place.  They are talented in tooth pulling and child carrying in woven baskets attached to the mother’s back by leather straps.  Most of the men wear tattoos and the women wear single seam dresses with holes for the head and arms. They are much like our people in Sheng.”
Pit dwellings and stilted huts were used for shelter and protection.  Stone ovens were used and the middens and use of pottery show that the people tended stay where they settled for centuries.  Pottery was not used by nomadic people due to its fragility and time consuming production process.
Use of ovens is important.  Unlike the Jomon and Yamato, the Kumaso baked breads.  This is evidenced in the middens where wheat chaff has been found.  Also, rice requires no plow where wheat does.  Use of metal hooks, nets, and boats for fishing emerge about 100 BC.  It is speculated that the Kumaso were more Sinic than Jomon.
This would only make sense as DNA testing has shown that the Ainu of Hokkaido were closely related to the Jomon people of Honshu (Japan’s main island).  Yet, the Kumaso are DNA related to the Sinic mainland.  Tattooing and tooth pulling were not known in Japan at the time.  The pottery of the Kumaso also lacks the cord patterns and stick decorating that Jomon pottery had; at least until the Yamato invasions that changed everything in Kumaso culture.
By 250 AD the area would begin seeing the first signs of invasion by the Yamato of Honshu (Japan’s main island).  In just 50 years the Kumaso would be defeated by either extermination or by forced integration of small villages where the chief surrendered.  Men would be turned into slaves and sent to Yamato land owners in Honshu, and the women given to Yamato settlers in Hyuga.

No comments:

Post a Comment