Tag Archives: Hancock

Hancock on the Legacy of the Jomon

From the book, UNDERWORLD: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization by GRAHAM HANCOCK

Three Rivers Press, New York, 2002

On pages 575-76, Hancock tells how he felt at Cape Ashizuri, Shikoku Island.

As I stood silently amongst the trees and the rock, looking up at a distant sun, I felt the prow of the stone boat beneath my fingers and was reminded again of the very many ways in which the Jomon are still alive today – alive through their pottery, alive through their sacred mountains, alive through rock shrines in deserted forests and in the depths of the sea, alive as great and powerful ancestral kami, alive as ideas embedded within the mysteries of the Shinto religion. And as I thought through everything I had learned about the Jomon I realized how far I had moved from the original preconceptions I had held about them. For here were a people who had explored their world by land and sea – reaching the Americas at least twice between 15,000 and 5000 years ago. Here were a people who had used pottery millenia before anyone else and gone on to refine it into a beautiful art form. Here were a people who engineered their landscape to create sacred mountains, circles of stone, temples of rock. Here were a people who lived in harmony with their environment, who made use of an intelligent mixture of strategies to ensure comfortable survival and security for the future, and who successfully avoided the pitfalls of militarism, materialism, conspicuous consumption and overpopulation that so many other cultures of the ancient world lost their way in. Here, above all, was a people whose civilization remained intact and flourished – decently, humanely, even generously, as far as we can know these things from the archaeological record, for more than 14,000 years.

If they could only speak to us, despite the lapse of time, what secrets would the Jomon have to tell of the true story and mystery of ancient Japan?