Asian Journal of Paleopathology Vol.5, 35–46, 2023
Received: February 11, 2023
Accepted: February 28, 2023
DOI: 10.32247/ajp2023.5.5

Original Article
Taphonomic observation of Jomon human skeletal remains from Haioku-bo (abandoned house burials) of the Ubayama shell mound, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Marimo Minagawa, Osamu Kondo

   To obtain osteological data on Haioku-bo (abandoned house burials) of the Jomon Period, we observed and compared the taphonomic signatures of human bones excavated from house pits and from individual burials at the Ubayama shell mound in Chiba Prefecture. Archeological studies of five Haioku-bo individuals found within a house pit in the Ubayama shell mound have been conducted, but the taphonomy of these remains has not yet been considered. We assessed the preservation of the bones, and observed the degree of weathering and damage to the bone surfaces. The taphonomic signatures of the Haioku-bo bones were similar to those of individual burials. The slight degree of weathering of the bone surfaces and the strong anatomical continuity in the Haioku-bo burials suggest that the remains were buried in an abandoned house within a short time after death. probably similar to the individual burials in the Ubayama shell mound. This finding is consistent with the idea that the Haioku-bo burial custom may have helped to prevent weathering and damage. In addition, the frequency of damage varied somewhat among the Haioku-bo individuals: fine-scale damage by insects was concentrated on two of the eight Haioku-bo individuals, suggesting a wide variation of the local environment surrounding each specimen.

Key words

Taphonomy, osteoarcheology, Haioku-bo, Ubayama shell mound, Jomon period