Shiraho Saonetabaru Cave Ruins
|Location||Ishigaki Island of the Yaeyama Islands|
Shiraho Saonetabaru Cave Ruins (白保竿根田原洞穴遺跡 Shiraho Saonetabaru Dōketsu Iseki) is a paleoanthropological site located on Ishigaki Island of the Yaeyama Islands in Japan. Shiraho Saonetabaru is a limestone cave.
It was discovered in 2007 when plans for the New Ishigaki Airport were being developed. Remains of human heads, feet and arms were found, in all 9 bone fossils, by the Okinawa Limestone Cave Association between 2007 and 2009, and three human samples were dated to between 20,000-16,000 years before present. In the ruins were also found bones from wild boar and birds (one animal bone calibrated at 12,000 BP), while during the three months in 2011 were discovered approximately 300 human bones from the stratum between 24,000-20,000 years old.
In 2015, researchers from the University of the Ryukyus and University of Tokyo succeeded in radiocarbon dating three out of five of the bones tested. The three bones yielded the following dates: (20,030 to 18,100 years BP), (22,890 to 22,400 years BP) and (24,990 to 24,210 years BP).
The investigation held between 2012 and 2016 found more than 1,000 human fragments from at least 19 human skeletons. The "No. 4" almost full skeleton was dated about 27,000 BP, being the oldest full skeleton discovered in East Asia and several thousand years older than the skeletons of the Minatogawa people. Due to the skeletons' postures, the site has been confirmed as the first graveyard in the Paleolithic age in Japan.
- Kaifu, Yousuke; et al. (2015). "Pleistocene Seafaring and Colonization of the Ryukyu Islands, Southwestern Japan". In Kaifu, Yousuke; et al. (eds.). Emergence and Diversity of Modern Human Behavior in Paleolithic Asia. Texas A&M University Press.
- "石器使わなかった旧石器人？ 石垣島・白保竿根田原洞穴". Asahi Shinbun (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Asahi Shimbun Company Shinbun. 6 Nov 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- Nakagawa, Ryohei (2010). "Pleistocene human remains from Shiraho-Saonetabaru Cave on Ishigaki Island, Okinawa, Japan, and their radiocarbon dating". Anthropological Science. The Anthropological Society of Nippon. 118 (3). Retrieved 6 August 2017.
- "24000 year-old human remains discovered at Shiraho Saonetabaru Cave Ruins in Ishigaki City". Ryūkyū Shimpō. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
- "Shiraho Saonetabaru Cave Ruins confirmed as first graveyard during Old Stone Age in the country". Ryūkyū Shimpō. 20 May 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
- Gaisho Yonekura (1 July 2016). "Discovery of oldest East Asian full-body human skeleton at Shiraho Saonetabaru Cave Ruins". Ryūkyū Shimpō. Retrieved 6 August 2017.