Left: Yabuzuka-honcho, Gunma Prefecture


Left: Shimofuda-cho, Chofu City, Tokyo.
9.5 cm.

Right: Yabuzuka-
honcho, Gunma Prefecture.
7.9 cm.
     The left earring is the most elaborate and biggest one among the Kayano earrings.  Only one of this type has been excavated in this site, while some were found in other sites, mostly in Kanto area.  Especially, Senamiyado Site in Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture produced many of this type.
     The pattern is thought to be from a flower or a cross section of a walnut.
     9 cm.
      The Museum of Earrings is in Shinto-mura (Shinto Village) in Gunma Prefecture.  It holds hundreds of earrings, old and new, Japanese and from abroad.  Among them, you can find many fascinating clay earrings excavated at a Jomon site in this village, Kayano Site.
    Kayano Site is a village site of Middle to early Final Jomon in prehistoric Japan. Archaeologists found a watering place, a working place near the spring, pit dwellings, and burial sites preserved in an excellent condition. The Jomon village had been well preserved partly because it was located on a slope and villages were not constructed in the following periods, the Yayoi and the Kofun Periods, to destroy it.  Also Mt. Haruna erupted in the Kofun Period and piled a thick layer of volcanic ash on the site. Thus, the whole village was preserved as it was when it was abandoned.
     577 earrings have been dug out. There have never been such a number of earrings found in a single site.  About 200 of these are unbroken, none of which constitute a pair. Considering that much of the site is still unexcavated, archaeologists surmise that the actual number of earrings existing in Kayano Site will go up to over 2,000 pieces.  They think that if it is so, Kayano Site must have been an important provider of earrings to other villages around the area.  
     Jomon people probably wore those earrings by piercing a hole in their earlobes as an accessary and/or a status symbol.  The biggest one is 9 cm in diameter, while the smallest is about 1 cm.  It is generally agreed that the older they got, the bigger the hole bacame and they could wear bigger earrings.  Some had red or black pigments.

     

The following earrings are from Kayano Site.
         



          The Museum of Earrings