The Japan Times, May 11, 1999

Mold for bronze tools thought to be oldest found

WAKAYAMA (Kyodo) A piece of sandstone, believed to have been used more than two millennia ago to mold bronze planes, has been unearthed in Gobo, Wakayama Prefecture, the city's board of education said Monday.
The finding at the Shogikuri ruins is Japan's "oldest mold for bronze tools, used about 2,200 years ago in the late part of the early Yayoi Period," board officials said.
The previous oldest artifact linked to the production of bronze tools was a mold used for unknown purposes in the beginning of the middle Yayoi Period (100 B.C.-A.D. 100), found at the Matsumoto ruins in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture.
The latest discovery will likely prompt scholars to modify the common view that the cultural development of the Yayoi Period (300 B.C.A.D. 300) began in northern Kyushu, as the mold in the Kinki region is believed by some to be the oldest yet.