The Japan Times, August 21, 1997

6,000-year-old Hokkaido farm?

SAPPORO (Kyodo) The foundations of what is believed to be a farming community from 6,000 years ago have been discovered in Hokkaido, prefectural government officials said Wednesday.
If it is farmland, it is the oldest ever discovered in Japan.
Experts view the discovery of foundations in the Bibi district of Chitose as a significant step in studying the Jomon period since it is believed the land was first farmed in that era, which ran from 10,000 B.C. to 300 B.C.
Until now it has been believed that people in the Jomon period obtained food by hunting, fishing and gathering.
The foundations are more than 3,000 years older than what are now considered the oldest-discovered farmland foundations, unearthed in Okinawa. The Okinawa site is estimated to be 2,700 years old.
According to the Hokkaido prefectural archaeological center, the site is believed to be farmland because stone axes and man-made ditches, including those used for drainage, were discovered.
Pit-houses, shell mounds and graves—characteristics of an early Jomon period village—have also been unearthed at the site.