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Peach Pits May Date to Reign of Japan’s Queen Himiko

Monday, May 14, 2018

NARA PREFECTURE, JAPAN—Peach pits unearthed at the Makimuku archaeological site in western Japan have been radiocarbon dated to between 135 and 230 A.D., according to a report in The Asahi Shimbun. Some researchers think the dates suggest the nearly 3,000 peach pits, baskets, pots, plants, and animal bones found in a pit may have been used in rituals by the people of the Yamataikoku kingdom, which was ruled by Queen Himiko, who died in A.D. 248. “The dates derived by scientific analysis fell into the range we expected,” said Kaoru Terasawa of the Research Center of the Makimukugaku. “Along with the archaeological analysis based on the age of potteries, the age of the large building was verified to be from the first half of the third century.” Other scholars think the kingdom, which was mentioned in an ancient history of China, was not located in Nara Prefecture, on the island of Honshu, but to the south, on the island of Kyushu. “It is still not definitely certain whether the carbon dating data actually indicates the age of the building itself,” countered archaeologist Chuhei Takashima of Saga Women’s Junior College. For more, go to “Japan’s Early Anglers.”

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