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Paleolithic Stone Tools from Hokkaido

Paleolithic Stone Tools from Hokkaido - Joy of Museums - National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo

These Stone Tools provide the evidence and dating for the first Homo sapiens in Japan, were made during the Japanese Paleolithic period that lasted from around 40,000 BCE to 14,000 BCE. The Paleolithic age is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools.

These Stone Tools were found in Hokkaido, which is the second largest island of Japan, located in the very north of Japan. It is believed that people first inhabited Hokkaido more than 30,000 years ago. Land bridges, during glacial periods when the world sea level is lower, have periodically linked the Japanese archipelago to the Asian continent. Some the first inhabited came from Siberia hunting food and game like mammoths. Others early migrations came from southern regions via the Korean Peninsula or from southern islands. They all brought with them stone tool-making techniques and laid the foundation for Paleolithic culture in Hokkaido.

Chipped stone tools are made from cryptocrystalline materials using a simple form of reduction by striking stone flakes from a core of material utilising a hammerstone. Reducing the core to a rough unifacial or bifacial preform, which is then further reduced using soft hammer flaking techniques.

More complex forms of reduction can produce highly standardized blades, which can then be fashioned into a variety of tools such as scrapers, knives, sickles and microliths. In general terms, chipped stone tools are nearly ubiquitous in all pre-metal-using societies because they are easily manufactured, the tool stone is usually plentiful, and they are easy to transport and sharpen.


  • Title:                  Paleolithic Stone Tools from Hokkaido
  • Material:           Stone
  • Created:            40,000 BCE to 14,000 BCE
  • Discovered:      Hokkaido, Japan
  • Museum:          National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo


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Japanese Proverb



Photo Credit: 1) By Joyofmuseums