Naumann Hall

The Prehistoric Nature and Dawn of Human Society in Osaka

It is still unclear as to when humans started to live in the Osaka area, although stoneware have been excavated from strata that were over 30,000 years ago. During that period, Naumann elephants and Yabe giant elk roamed in herds in the Osaka area as well as the surrounding region. Humans of that age most likely survived by hunting these animals in the vast wilderness of then Osaka.

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Early Human Activity and Impact on the Environment

Approximately 3,000 years ago around the end of the Jomon Period, early humans started to cultivate and grow rice and changed their hunter-gatherer based lifestyles to an agrarian-based one. Eventually, with the transition from Yayoi to Kofun Periods, the inhabitants of the area formed large communities and developed extensive paddy fields for rice cultivation.

Changes of Osaka through geographical maps

The landscape of Osaka has changed drastically in the past 150 years. These changes are not only in the form of suburb expansion such as construction of highways, housing developments, but also in the countryside such as the transformations of paddy-fields and collection of firewood. If you compare the maps of now and then, you can find and reflect on the changes of your hometown.

Naumann Elephant

It once lived in Japan about 20,000 years ago. Our ancestors in Osaka may had hunted it for living.

Yabe's giant deer

A huge elk with big antlers that has gone extinct. Its fossils are often found at the same places with fossils of the Naumann Elephant.


While the surface of Sanukite rocks are whitish and rough, its inside is deep black and the broken edges are very sharp. Our ancestors in the Stone Age made of this characteristic to make spear heads, knifes, etc. out of the Sanukite rocks.
Sanukite is named after the old name of Kagawa prefecture (Sanuki) where huge quantities of this stone can be found. In Osaka, it can be found around Mt. Nijo.

Japanese Tomistomine Crocodylian

On May 3, 1964, Kenji Ohara (then Konan University student) and Tsutomu Hitomi (then Nara University of Education student) found a bone fragment while they are collecting fossils at an ongoing construction site. Their discovery led to four excavations of the area and the city was able to retrieve most of the skeleton except the caudal vertebra (part of tail bone). The crocodile fossil was named Machikanewani after the place it was found (Machikane Mountain).
This crocodile was estimated to have lived approximately 400 thousand years ago during the period of Kasuri volcanic ash layer, and that the climate then was warmer than now as deduced from the plant fossils.

Douglas fir

This wood is the root part of the tree that was cut down from the Cascade mountain range in the state of Oregon (USA) to construct the ancient ship "Namihaya" in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Osaka city and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Osaka City Cultural Properties Association.
Douglas fir is the most important and second biggest tree specie after Sequoia that grows in the forests in North America. However, big trees like this wood with a diameter of 2.6 meters are very rarely seen in North America. There have been many douglas firs imported into Japan as construction materials but never such such a big tree yet. This tree was about 45 meters tall due to a lightning strike at its top but it may have very well been 60 meters or taller originally.

Museum Service Center

The Museum Service Center is a window that connects the visitors and the museum. It is a highly accessible space where visitors can make inquiries, conduct various studies, consult with experts/staff and read books. We also accept applications on visiting the museum from organizations such as schools and give out instructions on how to navigate the museum (handle requests for lectures by museum curator and provide study handouts) here. In addition, we sell books published by the museum and the Osaka Natural History Center. Please feel free to ask us questions such as museum events, membership, exhibits and books.