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The burial tradition on the Ryukyu Islands (of which Okinawa is the largest) is the use of domed burial vaults termed turtleback tombs. The bones of many generations of a particular family could repose in one such tomb. During the Battle of Okinawa, many Okinawan civilians sought refuge from the naval bombardment of the island inside their ancestors’ turtleback tombs. Later, many of these tombs were used by the Japanese defenders of the island.