April 12, 2006:

[achtung! kunst] *archaeology* : Remains of dormitory found near Ishibutai Tomb

X-post from Tim 't Hart's EastAsianArch list.
With kind permission.


Remains of dormitory found near Ishibutai Tomb

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The remains of what is believed to be a dormitory for workers building
Ishibutai Tomb in Asukamura, Nara Prefecture, were recently unearthed in
a hill next to the tomb, the Nara Prefectural Kashihara Archaeological
Institute announced.

The remains were found east of a tomb believed to be of Soga no Umako,
the head of a large clan in the Asuka period (593-710) who died in 626.

The tomb is part of the Shimanosho ruins dating back to the early
seventh century.

Researchers say the finding corresponds to a description in "Nihon
Shoki" (Chronicles of Japan) that says the clan leader's relatives
worked together to construct his tomb, and is the first finding
connected with ancient tomb construction in Japan.

The researchers discovered two rows of holes running north to south, one
8.5 meters long and the other 3.4 meters long, on the west side of two
temporary living quarters that are believed to have been the footings
for pillars. The area was paved with pebbles.

They also found traces of two 1.5- and 1.8-meter deep holes located
immediately west of each row. It is believed the holes were the footings
for ceremonial poles about 30 centimeters in diameter and about 10
meters high erected for the return of the departed souls of the dead.

As the remains are parallel to Ishibutai Tomb, researchers believe they
are closely related and add that similar structures may have existed in
the vicinity.

According to "Nihon Shoki," members of the Soga family got together in
628 to build the tomb for Soga no Umako. His son Emishi and Umako's
younger brother Sakaibe no Marise had a confrontation over who would be
the next emperor, leading the younger brother to destroy the quarters
and leave.

Also according to the chronicle, in 620, when the tomb for Emperor
Kinmei was built, various clans erected high poles around as if it were
a competition.

Teiji Kadowaki, professor emeritus of Kyoto Prefectural University and a
specialist of ancient history, said: "After Umako died, his family
members fought for leadership by constructing his tomb, weakening their
solidarity and hastening their decline. The remains concretely
illustrate this turning point of history."
(Mar. 11, 2006)




with kind regards,

Matthias Arnold (Art-Eastasia list)



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