There are two stone monuments commemorating the discovery of Morse's shell mound, one in Shinagawa Ward and the other in Ota Ward

Omori Shell Mounds stele
Omori Shell Mounds stele
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After passing through a path beside a large building in Omori, you will soon reach the side of the railroad tracks. When I turned my head to the side, I saw a large stone monument standing there. The name "Omori Shell Ruin" was written in large letters on a stone monument over two meters high. This was a shell mound that Dr. Morse had found on his way from Yokohama to Shimbashi. I knew of its existence, but this was my first visit.

I was surprised that the Omori Shell Mound, which is said to be the birthplace of Japanese archaeology, was quietly located in a narrow space between a large building and the JR tracks, but what surprised me more was that this was not the only place where a monument commemorating Morse's shell mound discovery stood.

The other monument, the Omori Shell Mound Monument, stands in the Omori Shell Mound Ruins Garden, about 300 meters north of here, also beside the JR tracks. The reason why the two monuments are standing in different places is, for a long time, it was unclear whether it was the Omori Shell Mound Ruins monument in Ota Ward or the Omori Shell Mound Ruins Garden in Shinagawa Ward, because Morse himself did not describe the location of his excavation in detail.

While the Omori Shell Mound monument was erected in Shinagawa Ward by the founder, Mr. Hikoichi Motoyama, president of the Osaka Mainichi Newspaper and an archaeologist, the Omori Shell Ruins monument was erected in Ota Ward based on the memory of Mr. Chujiro Sasaki, who was actually involved in the excavation of the Omori Shell Mound. It was like a battle between the original and the authentic.

As a result, a subsequent survey revealed that the location of the Omori Shell Mound monument was the Morse Shell Mound, and the surrounding land was developed into the Omori Shell Mound Ruins Garden. Knowing this background, it is a little more interesting to look at this stone monument. Since it stands in a place unrelated to the Morse shell mound, the huge monument has already lost its reason for standing there. I wonder if it is because of its size that it continues to exude a sense of presence even without a raison d'etre.

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Shooting Date

Jan 2021

Posted On

July 18, 2021

Modified On

August 19, 2023


Omori, Tokyo


Still Life Photography



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