This site dates from 5,900 to 4,200 years ago, making it one of the largest archaeological sites in Japan and excavations are still ongoing. As small-scale settlement sites of the same era have been found in the vicinity, it is presumed that they are highly likely to be parts of the Greater Sannai Maruyama site. It was known in the 17th-18th century that there were ancient settlement sites here, as the records at that time indicate that clay figures and potteries were frequently unearthed. Full-scale investigation began in 1992, and the traces of dwellings, cemetries, garbage dumps, roads and large buildings were excavated one after another. The number of the buildings known so far is as high as 780 houses, large and small, and it turns out to be the site of a large-scale settlement of the first class. It had been thought that the people of this era didn't build large-scale settlements because they lived by hunting and collecting nuts and the like. However the people here cultivated acorns and other plants that could be used as food while living in the large-scale settlement. It would take another 1,000 years for the ancient Japanese to form large villages for communal rice cultivation.
This site is listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
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