1800 years ago, the people of Hirota, who lived in Tanegashima, had the custom of deliberately deforming the skulls of infants.

A study by Kyushu University and the University of Montana in the United States revealed that people called Hirota, who once lived in Tanegashima, Kagoshima Prefecture, intentionally deformed the back of the head of infants into a precipice head.

Investigating intentional cranial modification: A hybridized two-dimensional/three-dimensional study of the Hirota site, Tanegashima, Japan | PLOS ONE


Unveiling Japan's ancient practice of cranial | EurekAlert!

Hirota people of Japan intentionally deformed infant skulls 1,800 years ago | Live Science

The Hirota people are the people who lived on Tanegashima for about 400 years from the end of the Yayoi period to the Kofun period, that is, from the 3rd century to the 7th century. In the southern part of Tanegashima, there remains the Hirota Ruins, a mass grave built by the Hirota people in the sand dunes on the coast, where many human bones have been found.

It has been pointed out that the skulls unearthed at the Hirota site tend to have flat occiput, but it was not clear whether this artificial deformation was intentional or not.

Below is a comparison of a Yayoi skull (top) and a Hirota skull (bottom) from the same period. You can see that the shape of the back of the head is quite different.

In a study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One, Noriko Seguchi of Kyushu University analyzed the shape of the contour of the skull from a 2D image of the skull and combined it with the results of a 3D scan of the surface of the skull. , compared with Yayoi and Jomon people of the same age.

As a result, the deformed Hirota skull had very similar injuries, particularly

the sagittal suture that connects the left and right skulls at the parietal region, and the lambda suture that connects the parietal region and the occipital region. It was confirmed that there was an abnormal depression in the suture .

The prominent flattening of Hirota's skull and the indentations in the suture lines found in this analysis led the research team to conclude that Hirota's cranial deformation may be intentional. very high,” he concluded.

The study also found that skull deformation occurred in both men and women. I do not know why Hirota took the trouble to change the shape of the child's skull, but the research team thinks that it is to maintain the identity as Hirota. In addition, splendid decorations of shells have been found at the Hirota site as burial goods, but since some of the shells could not be collected around Tanegashima, it is said that they were related to the shell trade. .

The following are typical Hirota people's remains. Hirota people wore a variety of accessories such as bracelets and pendants made of shells.

People other than the Hirota people also have the custom of deforming their skulls, and many groups have so far, such as the women of medieval Europe, the Huns , the Maya, the Native Americans, and the people of the Paracas culture in Peru. We know that the skull has been deformed.

Seguchi said, 'This discovery contributes significantly to our understanding of the practice of intentional cranial deformation in ancient societies. Further research in this region will help us understand the social and cultural implications of this practice in East Asia and around the world.' We look forward to gaining further insight into its significance.'

in Science, Posted by log1l_ks