Face of Yayoi Period Boy Reconstructed in Tottori Pref.; Made Using Bones Found at Historical Ruins and DNA Analysis

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A bust of a boy from the Yayoi period with a reconstructed face is seen in Aoya, Tottori Prefecture.

TOTTORI — The Tottori prefectural government has created a bust of a boy from the Yayoi period (300 B.C.- 300 A.D.) with a face reconstructed using bones found at the Aoya Kamijichi ruins and DNA analysis.

This is the second restored face of the Yayoi people, following an adult male, “Aoya Kamijiro,” created in October 2021. The latest creation was initially thought to be female, based on the shape of its skull, but DNA analysis revealed it to be male.

Since 1998, more than 100 human bones have been found in the ruins. In 2021, using DNA collected from one of the skulls, the prefectural government became the first in Japan to reconstruct the face of a Yayoi man, believed to be in his 30s.

In April 2022, the prefectural government attempted to reconstruct a female face from a well-preserved skull that lacked male features such as protrusion around the eyebrows. However, DNA analysis revealed a Y chromosome, which does not exist in females, and the skull was determined to be male. The boy is believed to be between 10 and 15 years old, and it is thought that his skeletal structure did not show male characteristics due to his young age.

Genetic information revealed that both the boy’s paternal and maternal lines were of migratory ancestry, with thicker hair and slightly darker skin color. As for the adult male, his paternal line was from the ingenious Jomon people and his maternal line was of migratory ancestry.

“We now know that people from various regions gathered at the ruins to form a community,” said Tatsuhiko Hamada, a prefectural official who worked on the reconstruction. The bust of the boy will be on display at the Aoya Kamijichi Historical Park, which opened on Sunday.