Asian Journal of Paleopathology Vol.1, 34–39, 2017
Received: December 31, 2016
Accepted: January 24, 2017
DOI: 10.32247/ajp2017.1.5

Brief communication
A cranium with Buddhist scripture written in India Ink from medieval Kamakura, Japan

Tomohito Nagaoka, Kazuaki Hirata

 The purpose of this study is to report on a rare case of a cranium with Buddhist scripture written in India Ink that was recovered from the archaeological site at Yuigahama Chusei Shudan Bochi (No. 372) (YCSB), as well as to discuss death in medieval Kamakura. We detected the presence of Buddhist scripture written in India Ink on a cranium that belongs to either a female or a juvenile. The India Ink trace in this case is concentrated on the superior part of the right parietal bone and is faded black in color. The winding letters of this inscription were made by brush strokes but the fragmented ancient letters are unreadable. Because a similar case involving India Ink has also been observed in medieval Kamakura, we conclude that the India Ink on the YCSB cranium was written in the same context as other sites and that this Buddhist scripture was directly written onto the cranial vault following the decay of soft tissues.

Key words
Medieval, Kamakura, India Ink, cranium