A recent discovery at the Kanai Higashiura historical site in Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture reveals the first find of “bone scales” in Japan. The Gunma Archaeological Research Foundation said that the animal bones were found inside a suit of armour, located in the same site where the bones of a man in another suit of armour from the early sixth century was previously discovered.
The bones were set in a rectangular, scale-like formation and each scale is around 6.6 centimeters long, 3 centimeters wide, and 3 millimeters thick. There were a dozen scales in each of the three connected levels. They were located just one meter away from the previously unearthed bones of a man dressed in armour, which was excavated from a layer of volcanic ash dating back to the latter stages of the Kofun Period (250 – 538 CE).
There have been ancient iron scales discovered before, but this was the first time that a scale made from bone was unearthed. Based upon the method used for creating the holes as well as some other characteristics, this may have been created based on a style that came from the Korean Peninsula. According to Kazuo Migishima, the foundation’s research committee head, because of the scale’s whiteness and quality, it may have been used more for “aesthetic appeal” rather than as protective equipment. Bone scales have been excavated from ruins in South Korea and they can be traced back to as early as the fourth century.
[ via Mainichi ]
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