Shimijizuka restored houses
|Town or city||Naka-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka|
The existence of a number of large shell middens containing millions of shells of freshwater bivalve clams was noted in mid-Edo period records. A portion of the site was destroyed by local farmers mining it for fertilizer in the 1830s. However, with the excavation of the Ōmori Shell Middens by Edward S. Morse of the Tokyo Imperial University in 1877, due academic attention became focussed on the Hamamatsu site, and preliminary investigations were conducted by Tokyo University in 1889. These investigations recovered earthenware fragments and stone tools, and confirmed that the site dated from the Jōmon period.
Subsequent excavations in 1895 and 1915 uncovered human bones, as well as necklaces and bracelets made from shells. The bones of deer and wild boar were also found. Later excavations were conducted by Kyoto Imperial University in 1920–1922 uncovered the foundations of twenty Pit dwellings.
The site was further explored using modern methods by the University of Shizuoka from 1954–1955 and in 1983. Many of the artifacts, which included iron arrowheads, jewelry and pottery, are on display at the nearby Hamamatsu City Museum.
At present, the shell midden is divided into four parts. One part is preserved with the cross-section on display to a depth of approximately 1.5 meters, indicating habitation of the site for approximately 1000 years. In addition to the shells and animal bones, the bones of various saltwater fish have been discovered, indicating that the site was rich in both marine and forest resources.
In 1959, the site was designated a National Historic Site and was opened to the public as a historical ruins park. A number of the pit dwellings have been reconstructed. The site also preserves a late-19th-century farmhouse.