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2021年 6月 28日

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Jomon Period Sites Recommended To Be Added To UNESCO’s World Heritage Site List

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A series of archaeological sites located in Northern Japan dating back to the Jomon Era have been recommended by a special panel to be added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site list.

Seventeen sites scattered across Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate and Akita prefectures are most likely going to be added to the list, which aims to curate a list of locations that have significant cultural, scientific, historical, physical or educational value.

This year’s nominations were delayed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These ancient grounds are one of the last reminders of an ancient hunter-gatherer society that existed in the northern part of what is now known as Japan from around 10,000 B.C. to 200 B.C. It’s one of the earliest recorded civilizations in Japan.

The sites consist of various ruins capturing the sort of buildings and architecture that existed during the 10,000-year-long Jomon Period.

The ruins were first discovered in 1992, when Aomori prefecture started a survey of the area now known as the Sannai-Maruyama site for construction of a new baseball stadium. More locations have been found in the years since.

If they are officially approved by UNESCO, they would become the first pre-Christian era historical sites in Japan added to the list. The final decision will be made during an online meeting beginning from July 16, 2021.

Local groups in the area have been long campaigning for sites from the Jomon Period to be included in the World Heritage Site list for years now. Some activists have devoted themselves to this cause for up to 25 years.

Local governments first proposed adding them to the list in 2007, while the central government formally put the offer forward to UNESCO in 2020 after years of choosing not to push them forward. They argued that the architecture represented early organized human settlements based around collecting meat, fish and plants.

Local activists for these Jomon historical sites were reported to be ecstatic about the news.

Part of the hope for getting these sites added to the UNESCO list is that it will result in a boost for tourism numbers, as more people will want to visit the region and see them, along with other spots.

Joining the Jomon sites in the 2021 UNESCO recommended Japanese list is a chain of islands located in southwestern Japan, between Kagoshima Prefecture and Okinawa Prefecture. They were nominated thanks to their natural beauty.

Japan has been very active in pushing for more sites and locations within its boundaries to be recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Jomon ruins will most likely become the 20th cultural property on the list in the country.

(447 words)

Key Words and Expressions

  1. archaeological sites — a place where traces of ancient culture can be seen
  2. date back to — started at a certain period in the past
  3. be added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list — to be admitted as an object or an area with outstanding universal value
  4. scattered across — located here and there
  5. ancient — belonging to times long past, especially before the fall of the Roman Empire
  6. hunter-gatherer society — anthropological term for a society that is based on hunting and gathering wild plants and animals
  7. civilization — an advanced culture or society created by humans
  8. ruin (noun) — a place where some traces of old buildings, towns, or historical events have been left behind
  9. represent — to become a sign of something
  10. settlement — a place where people establish a residence and live

Reading Comprehension Test

  1. What sort of society was found in the Jomon Period?
    a. Gathering Society.
    b. Hunting Society.
    c. Hunter-gatherer Society.
    d. Architectural Society.
  2. How were the Jomon sites discovered?
    a. They were found by local activists while they were exploring.
    b. They were found while a new baseball stadium was being planned.
    c. They were found by the government.
    d. They were found by UNESCO.
  3. Which of the following is true?
    a. The Jomon Period lasted for 5,000 years.
    b. The chain of islands in Southwest Japan were added to UNESCO due to their architecture.
    c. The Jomon sites instantly became World Heritage Sites after being nominated.
    d. The Japanese government didn’t initially support the Jomon sites for UNESCO.
  4. Why are the Jomon sites considered significant?
  5. What is a potential benefit of the Jomon sites being named a World Heritage Site?

画像:出典 JOMON ARCHIVES(一戸町教育委員会撮影)

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