• Kyodo

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The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum said Friday it found human and animal bones and tools made of quartz about 12,000 years old in a cave in the city of Nanjo.

It is the first time in Japan that human bones and stone tools from the Old Stone Age have been found at the same site, the museum said. Their age was estimated via carbon-14 dating.

“The findings could be a clue to learn about human culture in the Old Stone Age, as they show what and how people ate in those days,” Shinji Yamasaki, senior researcher at the museum, said.

The items found at the Sakitari Cave were a 2-cm child’s canine tooth, three stone tools, two sea shells and bones from various animals, including boars, said the museum, which started excavating the cave in 2009.

The Sakitari Cave is close to the place where the bones of Minatogawa Man, a prehistoric people believed to have lived in Okinawa about 18,000 years ago, were found.

In Japan, most human bones from the Old Stone Age turn up in Okinawa. In one instance, they were found in geological layers in Naha dating back some 32,000 years, the oldest in Japan.

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