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Normally, the discovery of ancient pottery is noteworthy for what might be still inside the earthenware, yet in this case the pots themselves were the treasure, according to archaeologist Hiroki Obata, a professor at Kumamoto University who was involved in the study.

It’s only been about 25 years that the importance of impressions left behind on recovered potsherds has been known, Professor Obata added, stating in a press release from the university that these vacant holes on the surface of the fragments can help researchers glean information on shells, insects, nuts, seeds, or any other number of objects from the past.

It is also sometimes referred to as the "black beetle" or a "water bug" because of its dark black appearance and tendency to harbor in damp locations.

The oriental cockroach is approximately 1 inch long (22 to 27mm) and dark brown to black.

They are popularly depicted as dirty pests, though the great majority of species are inoffensive and live in a wide range of habitats around the world.

Cockroaches are members of the order Blattodea, which includes the termites, a group of insects once thought to be separate from cockroaches.

Native to southern China, is depicted in Japanese artwork and literature from the Edo Period of the eighteenth century.

Previously, the cockroach species was considered a domestic one from the Edo Period forward based on Japanese cultural evidence, but with these potsherds dating back to at least 4,000 years in the past, it now seems certain that has been present in Japan for much longer than originally thought.

Each egg capsule or ootheca contains about 16 eggs that are lined up vertically, two by two in the egg case.

The egg capsule may be carried from 12 hours to five days and then deposited in a warm sheltered environment where food is readily available.

The incubation period for the oriental cockroach is about 42 to 81 days. Nymphs go through seven molts before becoming adults, which takes approximately one year.