Historical and Archaeological Investigations in the Mountain Forests of Okinawa, Japan


This is an abstract from the "Research and CRM Are Not Mutually Exclusive: J. Stephen Athens—Forty Years and Counting" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Today the mountainous interior of the northern portion of Okinawa, covered by dense forests, remains sparsely populated or uninhabited. Archaeological surveys have found very little in the way of prehistoric or early historical remains, but widespread evidence of human use during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. American and Japanese researchers have together undertaken research of archival documents, historical maps and reports, and records of oral history interviews with informants who used these areas prior to and during World War II. Based on this background material, we have identified previous cultural activities, their probable locations, and the types of archaeological sites that might be expected, such as charcoal kilns, indigo cultivation terraces and dye vats, camphor processing stations, rice and taro pondfields, and hamlets and farmsteads. Archaeological surveys have been conducted of several watersheds, utilizing this information to locate sites and verify the presence or absence of probable sites identified in the background research. The research has documented historical forestry use and the settlement and pursuit of economic opportunities by displaced samurai class families after the abolition of the Ryukyu monarchy by the Japanese government in 1879.

Cite this Record

Historical and Archaeological Investigations in the Mountain Forests of Okinawa, Japan. David Welch, Judith McNeill, Naoki Higa, Alexandra Garrigue, Taku Mukai. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451261)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 70.4; min lat: 17.141 ; max long: 146.514; max lat: 53.956 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 26031