Cycle and Rebirth

Shell Mounds for Sending off Souls to the Afterlife

Kitakogane Sell Mound Park - A spring where rituals were performed and restored dugouts on a Jomon Hill

'Hokkaido-shiki-sekikan'
Spoons for rituals made from bones of deer and whale

The Kitakogane Shell Mound in Date City contained shells and the bones of animals eaten by the Jomon, as well as unused earthenware and such stone artifact added to the pile over the years.

The Mounds may appear today to be a rubbish heap, however, these mounds have also been found to contain the remains of the deceased. Furthermore, in the shallows of a nearby spring, a large number of grinding stones (also known as 'Hokkaido-shiki-sekkan') were discovered.

The Jomon are thought to have believed that many objects contained the same kind of life-force and soul as living creatures. As such, when an object had fulfilled its purpose they gave thanks to the object and sent it to the next world, praying for its return to this world. Springs and the shell-mounds are thought to be places where such rituals were performed.

The white area on the hilltop is a shell mound restored

Stone Circles

Mt.Komagatake and the Stone Circle (Mori Town's Washinoki Site)

At the Mori Town's Washinoki Site, a megalithic stone circle from 4000 years ago graces a hilltop, with the heavy stones precisely arranged. The arrangement is a circle with 37-meter diameter, inside of which is a smaller circle made of packed-in stones, with two concentric lines skating the greater perimeter. To the south-east stands an active volcano, Komagatake(Stratovolcano type). In the 17th Century, the volcano erupted so violently that its summit was blown off, but the suggestion is that during the Jomon period the volcano would have stood as magnificently as today's Mt. Fuji. Looking from the remains during the winter solstice, the sun can be seen as it rises from the folds of Komagatake. This place was likely used as the site for an annual ceremony to honour the sun's symbolic reference to 'Cycle and Rebirth'.

The Stone Circle hilltop arrangement of heavy stones