Kyū Renpeijō:
A settlement large enough to rival Yoshinogari. Investigation proceeds, bringing to light a “country” in Shikoku.

A group of pit dwellings as discovered
Building features lie densely packed. It has been learned through investigation that older building sites were filled in, then new structures raised after preparing the ground.

Bronze bell (handle fragment)
A number of small fragments were recovered, but from physical and chemical analysis they are seen to have come from a single item. This is reconstructed as a type distributed over the northeastern part of Shikoku, with a height of about 40 cm. Sawtooth and herringbone patterns are visible. Length: 10 cm.
Percussion-made knife of Sanukite
Length: 12.6 cm. Bronze

These span the Late Yayoi up to the end of that period (ca. 2,000 – 1,800 years ago). As there are a variety of shapes, they are thought to have been procured from multiple sources. Length: 2.0 – 4.0 cm.

Middle and Late Yayoi period core settlements in Shikoku
Adapted from Hakkutsu sareta Nihon rettō 2012 [Excavations in the Japanese Archipelago, 2012] (Bunkachō [Agency for Cultural Affairs], ed., Asahi Shimbun Publications, 2012).

Distant view of the site (arrow, from the south)
The Inland Sea is visible at the rear. Located atop a gently sloping alluvial fan formed by the Doki river, the site lies 5 km distant via the Hirota river from the Inland Sea, which served as a great thoroughfare for traffic.

Jade comma-shaped bead, small glass beads, etc.
The blue items to the right in the photograph are small glass beads, and a jade comma-shaped bead is to the back at center. Also, a jasper fragment was found, thought to have been from a cylindrical bead. Small glass bead diameters: 0.35 – 0.55 cm.

Mirror fragments
Fragments of mirrors were recovered for types such as naikō kamonkyō (bearing a star-shaped design made inside a circle with inward-facing concatenated arcs), as both imported Later Han dynasty items and domestically made imitations (at top in the photograph). Relations can be glimpsed with the East Asian world, including the Korean peninsula and the Chinese mainland. The long side of the bottommost fragment is 2.0 cm.

(principal artifacts, Kyū Renpeijō Site)

Pottery of other regions
Late Yayoi, over the first half of the period (ca. 2,000 – 1,900 years ago).
Jar at the rear, height: 39 cm.
These are items brought from other regions, and items made locally imitating those of various regions. In particular, pottery from coastal areas of the Inland Sea (the ancient provinces from Kibi through Suō on the northern side, plus Iyo) has been recovered in large numbers.
Adapted from Hakkutsu sareta Nihon rettō 2012 [Excavations in the Japanese Archipelago, 2012] (Bunkachō [Agency for Cultural Affairs], ed., Asahi Shimbun Publications, 2012).

End of the Yayoi to the start of the Early Kofun periods (ca. 1,800 years ago).
Jar at the rear, height: 44 cm.
These were mainly recovered from an old riverbed. A great volume of pottery and other artifacts has been recovered from the Kyū Renpeijō site, reaching approximately 6,500 storage boxes, each 28 liters in volume.

Kyū Renpeijō Site, Zentsūji City, Kagawa Prefecture

A settlement continuing from the Middle Yayoi to the Kofun periods

Kyū Renpeijō is the site of a large settlement that flourished from the latter half of the Middle Yayoi to the beginning of the Early Kofun periods (ca. 2,100 – 1,750 years ago). On the occasion of various public works conducted since the end of the Pacific War, items such as pottery have been collected in large numbers, and the presence of a site was assumed. Excavations have been conducted intermittently since the 1980s, with vast numbers of features such as pit structures, embedded-pillar buildings, and ditches being detected, and it has become clear that the area exceeds 450,000 m2, rivaling even the Yoshinogari site in Kyushu.

Bronze bells, arrowheads, and mirrors are recovered

Finds of bronze swords and bells had been known from Mt. Gahaishi in the vicinity of the site, and from the slopes of Mt. Tsurugamine and elsewhere, but the recovery at Kyū Renpeijō of bronze bell fragments from the Middle Yayoi, bronze arrowheads of the Late Yayoi to the start of the Early Kofun periods, and pieces of bronze mirror of continental manufacture have drawn attention. Among these the bronze arrowheads number approximately 80 items, the largest such find nationwide.

Exchange with groups of other regions

In addition, centering on the first half of the Late Yayoi (ca. 1,900 years ago), large amounts of pottery from Kyushu, the coasts of the Inland Sea, and every part of the interior of Shikoku have been found, and it is thus seen that exchanges were underway with groups in other regions.

As Kyū Renpeijō was a settlement maintained continuously at the same location, it is an important site for examining social change from the Yayoi to the Kofun periods. (Kinoshita Seiichi)