An­cient tomb con­tain­ing splen­did ar­mor found in Kyushu

Iran Daily - - Cultural Heritage & Environment -

Work­ers paving a farm road here stum­bled on a 1,500-year-old un­der­ground tomb con­tain­ing a large stone cof­fin, hu­man re­mains and ar­mor in re­mark­able con­di­tion.

The re­mains are likely of a lo­cal chief­tain while the cuirass, a type of breast­plate known as ‘tanko’, is be­lieved to have been a gift from the Yam­ato im­pe­rial court in cur­rent Nara Pre­fec­ture in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the leader’s co­op­er­a­tion, the ed­u­ca­tion board of Shibushi city said Jan. 24, re­ported.

The tun­nel-tomb was un­earthed dur­ing farm road paving work in De­cem­ber.

“It was likely built for a pow­er­ful leader in the lo­cal re­gion who was di­rectly con­nected with the Yam­ato im­pe­rial court,” said Tat­suya Hashimoto, a pro­fes­sor of arche­ol­ogy at the Kagoshima Uni­ver­sity Mu­seum.

The grave, which is from the Ko­fun Pe­riod (late third to sev­enth cen­turies), is one of the largest tun­nel-tombs in the Osumi re­gion in east­ern Kagoshima Pre­fec­ture. It boasts a ver­ti­cal shaft that is 2.6 me­ters long, 1.8 me­ters wide and 1.6 me­ters deep. The burial cham­ber is 2.6 me­ters long, 1.9 me­ters wide and 90 cen­time­ters high.

This type of con­struc­tion is unique to the south­ern Kyushu re­gion. The site has been named the No. 3 Harada Chikashiki Yokoan­abo (Harada un­der­ground tun­nel-tomb).

The skeletal re­mains are those of a 170-cen­time­ter-tall adult male.

A sword, its scab­bard and other items were also found in the pumice stone cof­fin mea­sur­ing 2.4 me­ters. It is 60cm wide and 50cm tall.

The tanko is in near-im­mac­u­late con­di­tion and was stand­ing be­side the cof­fin. The ar­mor mea­sures 35cm by 40cm.

More than 20 burial ac­ces­sories, such as an iron ar­row­head, spear and iron ax were dis­cov­ered.

The tomb fea­tures more grave ac­ces­sories than any other tun­nel-tombs in the Osumi re­gion, ac­cord­ing to the ed­u­ca­tion board.

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