Morphological characteristics of buried dog remains excavated from the Kamikuroiwa Rock Shelter site, Ehime Prefecture, Japan

Hajime Komiya, Junmei Sawada, Fumiko Saeki, Takao Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


In 1962, two sets of dog remains were excavated at the Kamikuroiwa Rock Shelter site in Ehime Prefecture.<sup>14</sup>C age dates of the dog remains correspond to a time period from the end of the Initial Jomon period to the beginning of the Early Jomon period: this indicates that they are the oldest buried dog remains discovered to date in the Japanese archipelago. Both sets of remains represented adult dogs and showed complete permanent dentition. The interred bodies were small, including the bones of their extremities, but they still resembled Jomon dogs of later periods. The muscles had developed, especially those required for mastication, and for the bending and stretching of the extremities. The teeth showed damage due to attrition that most likely occurred prior to death. It has been surmised that the dogs were subjected to extreme levels of stress on their teeth and were buried after tooth loss. Such damage may be related to hunting for large game mammals such as wild boar, similar to Jomon dogs of later periods. Therefore, it is highly possible that these two individuals shared similar characteristics as hunting dogs with Middle, Late, and Final Jomon dogs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalAnthropological Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 26



  • Dog burial
  • Jomon period
  • Kamikuroiwa rock shelter site
  • Morphological characteristics
  • Uses of dogs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

Cite this