A Review of Coral Studies of the Ryukyu Island Arc to Reconstruct Its Long-Term Landscape History

  • Toru YamaguchiEmail author
Part of the Coral Reefs of the World book series (CORW, volume 5)


Coral studies of the Ryukyu Island Arc have resulted in the accumulation of a vast knowledge quite relevant to a future reconstruction or interpretation of its landscape history, i.e., the process of viewing a present landscape as a historical artifact contingently and cumulatively changed through interactions between two types of agents, natural and human. For the geohistory of the late Miocene to the late Holocene, in particular, I review three topics: insularization of the Ryukyu Arc, coral growth during the last glacial maximum, and the formation of a coral reef environment in the middle Holocene. The latter two topics are considered in connection with archaeological and anthropological evidence of late Pleistocene and Holocene human settlement and subsistence. The latest phase after the middle Holocene, however, appears to still not be fully examined in geohistorical coral studies; thus, I briefly describe my geoarchaeological surveys of the shallow sea and alluvial land in the Nagura region of Ishigaki Island, the future examination of which will make us aware of the difficulty of simply determining anthropogenic changes as either environmental degradation or landscape enhancement.


Coral studies Landscape history Geoarchaeology Ryukyu Island Arc 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ethnology and ArchaeologyKeio UniversityTokyo, MitaJapan

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