Nojiriko Naumann Elephant Museum

Welcome to the Nojiriko Naumann Elephant Museum

The Nojiriko Naumann Elephant Museum was opened for the purpose of preserving, studying, and exhibiting the excavated fossils and remains accumulated through the 50 year history of “Excavation at Lake Nojiri”.
Fossils of Naumann Elephants and Irish elk as well as stone and bone tools used by “Lake Nojiri people” are of the last Ice Age, about 40,000 years ago. They are quite rare because tools by Homo sapiens and fossils of animal bones or plants are rarely excavated together at other digs of the Old Stone Age in Japan.
The exhibition gives a good opportunity for visitors to imagine what the culture of people and the natural environment at that time were like.

Nojiriko Naumann Elephant Museum
Nojiriko Naumann Elephant Museum

The first thing excavated was a cheek tooth of an elephant.

The cheek tooth of a Naumann Elephant.
The cheek tooth of a Naumann Elephant.

A fossil of a tooth of a Naumann Elephant was found by chance on the bottom of Lake Nojiri in 1948. The hot-water bottle-shaped fossil was the start of a series of excavation works at Lake Nojiri in 1962.

The bottom part was used for biting (masticating surface).
Such teeth would be replaced five times throughout their lifetimes.