The main archaeological excavations concerning the cultures from prehistoric times (i.e. the Palaeolithic and the Jomon periods) as well as from the early historical ones (i.e. the Yayoi period), undertaken on the Ryukyu Archipelago, are reviewed in comparison with the parallel investigations within the Hondo Islands. The controversies on the chronology of the earliest Palaeolithic remains, so far discovered within the Japanese Islands, are emphasised. The aim of that paper is to visualise the possible contribution of the mentioned research to the problem of the origin of the inhabitants of the Ryukyu Islands.