First Discovery and Mapping of Early Modern Grapnel Anchors in Ishigaki Island and Cultural Resource Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage in Okinawa

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First Discovery and Mapping of Early Modern Grapnel Anchors in Ishigaki Island and Cultural Resource Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage in Okinawa


Yarabuoki site, which contains iron grapnel anchors and early modern Okinawa ceramic jars in 12 to 32 m depth off the western Coast of Ishigaki Island, was discovered by a local diver and reported to Okinawa Prefectural Archaeological Center. In 2010, the Center conducted a distributional survey to confirm the site and its location. Although the survey found and pictured seven numbers of grapnel anchors that were first findings of this type in Okinawa area, the previous study did not record each position and the accurate depth of these artifacts and the site character such as shipwreck site or discarded shipping loads site is yet unclear. With such background and tasks, our team has conducted underwater archaeological research to record each location of grapnel anchors and ceramic jars using GPS. Furthermore, Kan and Nagao conducted a broadband multibeam survey around the Yarabuoki site and visualized the bathymetric
results at a lateral grid resolution of 1m. This will enable us to create a three- dimensional site map to plot the artifacts, while Sakagami (Tokai University) developed a low-cost and human-portable underwater robot to explore and record high resolution video of underwater sites, and the robot successfully worked during our surveys. Our paper reports the results and outcomes of the research at Yarabuoki site and other underwater sites in Ishigaki and the Yaeyama Islands and discusses the early modern marine transportations in Okinawa or the Ryukyu Islands. We also discuss the future possibility for cultural resource management of underwater cultural heritages in the Yaeyama and Okinawa.


Rintaro Ono
Hironobu Kan
Norimitsu Sakagami
Masayuki Nagao
Chiaki Katagiri, in Van Tilburg, H., Tripati, S., Walker Vadillo, V., Fahy, B., and Kimura, J. (eds.)





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