Disgraced archaeologist admits more fakes
Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2001
Shinichi Fujimura, an archaeologist who admitted to falsifying two Paleolithic stone tool findings in northern Japan, has now confessed to faking the discovery of the world's oldest stone tool, which had been broken up and its parts dispersed separately in two prefectures, archaeological association officials said Saturday.
Fujimura made the latest confession to a special Japanese Archaeological Association investigation committee after he announced in December 1997 that the two pieces of the implement, discovered in Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures, were found to match each other, the officials said. The sites are about 30 kilometers apart.
The pieces of the tool — thought to date back 100,000 years — were found respectively at the Sodehara 3 site in Obanazawa, Yamagata Prefecture and the Nakajimayama site in Shikama, Miyagi Prefecture.
The officials added Fujimura suggested he falsified results from at least 20 other locations, but did not provide details about them.
The 51-year-old former deputy director of the Tohoku Paleolithic Institute in Tagajo, Miyagi is suspected of fabricating findings at 33 excavations in eight prefectures, but insisted in a press conference last November he had only faked two.
Those were artifacts at Kamitakamori in the Miyagi town of Tsukidate, and Soshin Fudozaka in Shintotsukawa, Hokkaido in fiscal 2000.
During a reexamination of his finds in April to August, the association developed suspicions regarding six sites, including Itouchimatsubayama in Fukushima Prefecture, after detecting what appeared to be excavation marks made by tools.
Last Sunday, the association said it had analyzed stone tools unearthed at two important locations in Miyagi — Razaragi and Babadan — and grew suspicious about them.
Earlier, a team led by Fujimura said the Razaragi site, found in 1981, was in a layer of earth 42,000 years old, and the Babadan site, found in 1984, was 170,000 years old.
Meanwhile, Norio Ono, mayor of the city of Obanazawa, said he feels deep regret and disbelief at how Fujimura fooled people, adding he wants a personal apology from him.
The archaeologist's descriptions of staging finds have also affected textbook publishers, prompting them to correct history texts on Paleolithic tools.
In November, Fujimura admitted to burying stone tools from his personal collection at Kamitakamori and Soshin Fudozaka, explaining he had been "tempted." He has since been hospitalized. (Kyodo News)