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Historic Cemetery Unearthed in Japan

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Japan Umeda CemeteryOSAKA, JAPAN—The Mainichi reports that the remains of more than 1,500 people have been found at a cemetery site slated for redevelopment in Osaka, which is located on the south-central coast of the island of Honshu. The Umeda Haka cemetery, founded in the early seventeenth century during the Edo period, was one of seven in the city and is thought to have been used by people who lived in the Osaka Castle area of the city into the early twentieth century. Archaeologists investigating the site said they have found bodies buried in wooden tubs, square wooden coffins, and funeral urns, in addition to cremated remains. In the northern part of the cemetery, the researchers found that some of the dead had been placed directly into the soil, sometimes in multiple burials, perhaps during times of epidemics. Artifacts recovered from the cemetery include beads, coins, pipes, earthen dolls, gold coins, and miniature plates and pots. Scientists will continue to study the bones, but preliminary reports indicate that some of the individuals suffered from syphilis and bone tumors. To read about the oldest known sake brewery that was recently unearthed in Kyoto, go to "At Press Time."

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