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A case study of the site structure of the Sanwa Site

With a special emphasis on human behaviour in the middle of the circular shaped lithic distribution during the Late Palaeolithic in Japan.
This article analyses the site structure of the Sanwa Site which is a Late Palaeolithic (1) site within the Japanese 'Backed knife culture' period.
The distribution pattern within these circular shapes are as follows: many lithic clusters range from 30-50 metres in diameters, each of lithic structures is within several metres in diameter of each other.
This is a common pattern which is represented in Late Palaeolithic in Japan.
The Sanwa Site is located on the west edge of the Omama Alluvial Fan(2).
On this site, four cultural horizons were found in the loam layers.
In the cultural horizon No 4 in particular, about 2,000 lithic artefacts were excavated in the Black Band under the AT( widely ranged marker tephra layer).
They are widely distributed in the shape of circles about 50 metres across; moreover, there are some lithic concentrations at the central zone.
On this site it was found that many stone tools can be refitted coming from different lithic clusters.
Several stone artefacts can be refitted between the lithic clusters located on the central zone and on the peripheral areas.
This probably shows that there is some organisational relationship between them.
In conclusion we can say that a few groups probably occupied the peripheral areas in their daily activities, such as in their stone tool production.
At the moment it is not possible to say what activities went on in the centre of these circular areas but it is believed that it was an areas commonly shared by all.
It is hoped that with further studies and site cross referencing from the same period more information can be gained.

1 Equivalent to the European Upper Palaeolithic
2 The Omama Alluvial Fan was formed by the Watarase River. The process of the formation of this fan can be divided into two stages; the first one is named the Kirihara surface (or the First Surface).
This was formed about 50,000 years ago.
The second one is named the Yabutsuka surface(or the Second Surface).
This was formed about 20,000 years ago.
The Sanwa Site is located on the First Surface.

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