Toro (archaeological site)

Toro Iseki
Toro pit-dwelling reconstruction
Location in Japan
Location in Japan
Toro ruins
Location in Japan
Location in Japan
Toro (archaeological site) (Japan)
Alternative name
  • Toro Archaeological Site
  • Toro Ruins
Coordinates34°57′22″N 138°24′29″E / 34.95611°N 138.40806°E / 34.95611; 138.40806Coordinates: 34°57′22″N 138°24′29″E / 34.95611°N 138.40806°E / 34.95611; 138.40806
Area330,000 square metres (3,600,000 sq ft)
Founded1st century CE
PeriodsYayoi period
Site notes
Public accessYes
Japanese name
Kanji登呂 遺跡
Hiraganaとろ いせき

Toro (登呂 遺跡, Toro iseki) is an archaeological site in Suruga Ward in Shizuoka City, 130 kilometres (81 mi) southwest of Tokyo, Japan. The site contains the ruins of a settlement which dates to the 1st century CE, in the late Yayoi period. Discovered in 1943, it was excavated from 1947 to 1948 and designated a Special Historic Site of Japan in 1952.[1] Toro is also the name of the area surrounding it in the Japanese addressing system.


Toro is notable as the first archaeological site excavated in Japan in which remains of 1st-century CE Yayoi-era wet-rice paddy fields were found.[2] The site was discovered in 1943 during construction work on a military munitions plant in World War II, and was excavated in 1947 and 1948. In 1965 an excavation survey was conducted before the construction of Tōmei Expressway within the planned route.[3]

As well as the agricultural remains, archaeological findings included Pit-house dwellings, refuse pits, and raised-floor buildings. Many artifacts were also unearthed. The preservation at the Toro site was so complete that a large number of 2000-year-old wooden farming tools were excavated.[4] The site was re-excavated from 1999 to 2003,[3] during which time additional artifacts were uncovered.[5][6]

The archaeological remains from Toro elicited such an intense interest from Japanese archaeologists that the Japanese Archaeological Association was formed to study it.[2] Toro has been used as a type site for Yayoi culture despite the fact that the location of the settlement in the Tōkai region was peripheral to what has traditionally been considered the Yayoi formation area in northern Kyūshū.[7]


Shizuoka City Toro Museum

The total area of the Toro site is 330,000 m2 (3,600,000 sq ft). Twelve pit-houses were excavated but as the archaeologists were not able to establish the boundaries of the original Yayoi settlement, the true size of the village is unknown and may have been much larger. In addition to the houses, two raised-floor buildings were found. Archaeologists interpret these as storehouses.[8]

The Toro pit-dwellings had a roughly 6-by-8-metre (20 ft × 26 ft) living area, with a double skirting wall approximately 30 cm (12 in) high around the circumference. Four wooden posts were sunk into the ground, with beams connecting at the top, and rafters radiating down to the ground level. The whole was covered in thatch. Within, the floor level was even with the outside ground, and a hearth was sunk into the floor in the center. The elevated buildings had an entrance ladder carved from a single log of wood. These buildings were apparently built of planks, using a mortise and tenon joinery method, which indicates that the builders had use of iron tools.[9][page needed]

Approximately 30 rice paddies were uncovered, along with 370 m (1,210 ft) of associated narrow canals and waterways.[citation needed]

The site is now preserved as a public archaeological park with reconstructed buildings and rice fields,[10][11] and is protected by the Japanese government as a National Historic Monument. A museum at the site preserves and displays many of the artifacts discovered.[12] 775 artifacts excavated from Toro site are designated as Important Cultural Property of Japan in 2016.[13]


See also


  1. ^ "登呂 遺跡" (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Aikens & Higuchi 1982; Bahn 2001, p. 451.
  3. ^ a b "Hajimeni" [Introduction] (in Japanese). Bunkazai-ka Department, Shizuoka City. Archived from the original on 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  4. ^ Aikens & Higuchi 1982, pp. 235–237.
  5. ^ Okamura 2002, pp. 113–122.
  6. ^ "Toro iseki no hakkutsu—sengo kōkogaku to shakai ni ataeta kakkisei" [Excavation of Toro Site—Breakthrough it gave to post WWII archeology and society in Japan] (PDF). p. 131. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  7. ^ Bahn 2001, p. 451.
  8. ^ Brown 1993, pp. 80–91.
  9. ^ Nishi 1996.
  10. ^ "Shūhen shisetsu no goannai—Toro-iseki kōen annnaizu" [The park and archaeological site map] (in Japanese). Shizuoka City Toro Museum. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  11. ^ "Toro-iseki no saisēbi kōji ni tsuite" [Reconstruction plans for Toro archaeological site area] (in Japanese). Shizuoka City. Archived from the original on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  12. ^ "Shizuoka City Toro Museum" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  13. ^ "Toro-iseki shutsudohin 775-ten ga jūyō bunkazai ni shitei saremasu!" [775 artifacts excavated from Toro site designated as Important Cultural Property of Japan!] (in Japanese). Shizuoka City. 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2017-10-10.

Works cited

Further reading

  • Sugihara, Sōsuke (1949). "Toro-iseki Chōsa Hakusho" [Toro Site Excavation White Papers]. Shinnihon Rekishi (in Japanese). Shin-nihon Rekishi Gakkai. 8. OCLC 834212739. Retrieved 2017-10-10. First official excavation report.
  • Tokubetsu shiseki Toro-iseki: saihakkutsu chōsa hōkokusho [Re-excavation Report] (in Japanese). Shizuoka City. 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-10. Three volumes with Archaeological Surveys, Natural Science Analysis and Summary, and Supplement.

External links

  • Japan Atlas: Toro site
  • Shizuoka City government site (in Japanese)
  • Shizuoka City Toro Museum (in Japanese)
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