KOBE – Seven bell-shaped bronze vessels from the early Yayoi Period (200 B.C. to A.D. 250) have been found in sand collected by a stone processing firm on Awajishima Island, Hyogo Prefecture.
The vessels, the oldest of them assumed to be from the second century B.C., were accidentally discovered last month in a mountain of sand brought from a coastal area in the city of Minamiawaji, prefectural board of education officials said Tuesday.
The vessels are believed to have been used in festivals.
One of the vessels was broken, while the six others were found in pairs, with a small vessel placed inside a bigger one. Three of the vessels each came with a bronze stick that is believed to have been used as a pendulum. The sticks are worn down, indicating the vessels were used for a long period of time, the officials said. The oldest vessel weighed roughly 2 kg.
According to the board, a worker operating heavy machinery noticed a vessel buried in a mountain of sand brought from the city’s Matsuho district. Awajishima is known as a place where ancient bronze works are sometimes unearthed. Twenty-one of the bronze vessels have been found on the island.