OSAKA, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- A team of archaeologists found a pair of molds for producing bronze swords with a twin ring-shaped pommel in the western Japanese prefecture of Shiga, the first discovery of its kind in Japan, local press reported on Friday.
The sword molds, dating back to between the fourth century BC and third century AD, were excavated from the Kamigoten Mound in Takashima City of the prefecture, according to the daily Mainichi Shimbun.
The report said the team has uncovered an area of about 4,000 square meters since April this year and found in June the molds, which are made of silt, in the north side of the trench covering about 1,450 square meters. It added the two objects are 29.5 centimeters long, 8.8 centimeters wide and about 4 centimeters thick.
The report cited local archaeologists as saying that the shape and design of the unearthed molds are similar to the ones used for short swords of the Ordos style, which were widely found in northern China, during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC) , an era in Chinese history.
Hidenori Yoshida, spokesperson for Shiga Prefectural Association for Cultural Heritage, told Xinhua on Friday that since the length of the handle of swords made from the discovered molds was supposed to be too short to hold tightly, the products could not be adequate for practical use.
"Considering the unique style which has never found not only in Japan but even in the Korean Peninsula so far, the new discovery in the prefecture tells us there were varied and multiple ancient trade routes between western Japan and China in ancient times," Yoshida said.
The prefectural association will organize public briefings about the discovered molds at the excavation site this weekend.