Oshoro Stone Circles

Oshoro Stone Circles is the largest ancient stone circles in Japan which arranged in concentric circles - surrounds big oval (with the size of 33m x 22m), on its south side twenty stones are in the half-tonne range. Excavations suggest that it is about 4000 years old. It is first discovered in 1861, at Oshoro, southwestern Hokkaido, near the port of Otaru by a party of herring fishermen (they were migrants from Honshu). Huge tree pillar is discovered in the area of Oshoro the same times to the north side of this stone circle by excavation.

It is one of about 30 Late Jomon stone circles scattered through northern Japan. The Late Jomon period (circa 2400-1000 B.C.) was an age of northward migration. No bones have been found to make an airtight case of the cemetery theory, but relatively few Jomon bones have been found anywhere, the acid in the soil claiming them long before the archaeologist’s trowel can.

The Scottish doctor, prewar pioneer in Japan and amateur archaeologist Neil Gordon Munro, in his synthesis of Japanese archaeology (1908) described the Oshoro Stone Circles as an early interest of local people at that time in Cosmology, even though the stone circles not megalithic, they were laid out oriented to movements of the celestial bodies. He thought at first the stone circles might be astronomical observatories akin to Stonehenge in southwest England.

Oshoro Stone Circles in Japan

According to J. Edward Kidder in "The Cambridge History of Japan", late Jomon people were isolating the dead, allowing the gap to be bridged by mediums who eventually drew the rational world of the living further away from the spirit world of the dead. "Probably, the Oshoro Stone Circles was a cemetery," he said.

Naoaki Ishikawa, the chief curator of the Otaru Museum also think maybe it was a cemetery, because of the large number of unidentifiable, and probably ritual, objects unearthed in the vicinity; partly because of the many tools found unbroken, suggesting grave goods; also because the graves are among the few things that would have justified the degree of effort involved. Constructing a stone circle is a major undertaking. You have to flatten the land, quarry the stones, transport them, lay them out.

However, Ishikawa raises another possibility — that it could have been a trash dump, which would explain the roughly 400,000 tool and pottery fragments so far unearthed there.

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion by Timothy Insoll;
Underworld: "The Mysterious Origins of Civilization" by Graham Hancock;

Pic Source:
http://www.readbag.com/godsebook-slides-senior-center-janesville-07-23-10 (page 14)

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