What is inside the tomb of the "Evil Horse Taikoku Period" ... Jun 6 at 6:17

Four stone pigs appeared on the soil.

It is a tomb from the late Yayoi period, where it is said that the evil horse kingdom existed about 4 years ago.

When you open the lid, what comes out of the inside?

Will we find clues to the era in which Queen Himiko lived?

(Saga Broadcasting Station Reporter Koichi Mano / Director Ryutaro Yasui)

A stone lid about 1800 years old When lifted...

On June 6, about 5 journalists from all over Japan gathered at the Yoshinogari site in Saga Prefecture.

70 am.

The lid of a stone weighing more than 10 kilograms is slowly lifted using heavy machinery.

The lid is part of a stone tomb, a sarcophagus tomb from the late Yayoi period.

For nearly 1800,<> years, the coffin has been tightly closed.

What was going on under the lid, the cameras were pointed at the small space all at once.

However, what appeared was a large amount of sediment.

Three of the four lids were lifted, but all of them were buried with earth and sand. Even if it is an elaborately constructed sarcophagus tomb, earth and sand can enter through a small gap over a long period of time.

But there were also new discoveries.

Traces of the use of red pigment were found inside the tomb.

The red pigment has been found in the graves of high-ranking figures of the Yayoi period, along with valuable grave goods.

Yoshiyoshi Shirakihara, Director
of the Cultural Property Protection and Utilization Office, Saga Prefectural Cultural Division: "When it comes to using red pigment in the Yayoi period, there are many graves of noble or powerful people.

It was a discovery that brought us one step closer to the "grave of a powerful man".

One of the best Yayoi settlement ruins in Japan Yoshinogari Ruins

Located in the east of the Saga Plain, where rice cultivation is thriving, the Yoshinogari ruins.

With an area of over 40 hectares, it is the largest Yayoi period settlement site in Japan. Remains of warehouses and residences and people's graves have been found in the area, and the restored structures convey the way people lived at that time.

The Yayoi period was a time when rice cultivation culture spread throughout the country, and people began to settle and live together. It lasted for about 4 years, from the 3th to the 700rd century BC, and during this time, settlements "mura" appeared in various places. Eventually, it developed into a "kuni" ruled by a king.

Yoshinogari, which flourished for a long time during the Yayoi period, is a valuable archaeological site where you can follow the process of its development.

From the "Tomb of the King", which is said to have ruled the village in the mid-Yayoi period, a bronze sword has also been unearthed as a grave item.

Excavation in the "mystery area" for the first time in 10 years

However, only the tomb of the king of the late Yayoi period, when Yoshinogari developed into "Kuni" and reached its peak, has not been found, and it has been considered a great mystery.

The late Yayoi period is also the time when the evil horse kingdom was ruled by the queen Himiko, which is described in the Chinese history book "Wei Zhi Wa Renden".

It has been hoped that the excavations, which began last year for the first time in 10 years, will provide answers to these mysteries.

The subject of the excavation was a place that has been called "mystery area" because it was untouched because a shrine was built. It is located almost in the center of the ruins, and the area is a hill.

Immediately to the east is the North Mound Tomb, the tomb of the king of the mid-Yayoi period.

The location of the hotel has attracted interest in the possibility of important discoveries.

The sarcophagus tomb was found alone in late April, in one of the most heaving areas of the area.

In addition, the size of the lid was 4.2 meters long and 3 centimeters wide, which was larger than the 60 sarcophagus tombs found at the Yoshinogari site in the past.

It is the basis for Saga Prefecture, which conducts excavations, and experts to analyze whether it is the grave of an influential person.

"×" or "ten" carved on a stone pig

In addition to whether or not he is an influential person, what is attracting interest is the mysterious symbols that are inscribed on the lids of the tombs.

Of the four stone lids, two were found to have intersecting lines such as "×" and "ten" on the outside of them.

Yayoi period tombs with such lines have only been found in two archaeological sites around the Yoshinogari site in Japan.

Experts point out that there may have been rituals unique to the region when burying people.

Hiroyuki Hashimoto, a postdoctoral researcher at the Nara Prefectural Kashihara Archaeological Institute, who is familiar with Yayoi period paintings: "Since there is no regularity, it is possible that rather than thinking that it was carved by one person,
it is possible that they carved it one by one instead of changing places. It may be possible to engrave the line of such a batten mark in the sense of sealing."

In the survey on the 5th, it was found that a similar line was engraved on the inside from another lid from the one where the line was found on the surface.

The sarcophagus tomb is buried at a slight inclination from the north-south axis.

Of these, two of the south lids had symbols on the outside, and one on the north side had symbols on the inside.

Many "north pillows" have been confirmed in graves from this period, and Research Fellow Hashimoto said, "The symbol may be related to the direction of the head of the buried person."

"Grave goods of mirrors and swords are indispensable"

Saga Prefecture will spend 1~2 weeks digging up the soil buried in the casket and investigating the inside.

Archaeologist Tadahei Takashima, who has been investigating the Yoshinogari site for many years, says that the discovery of grave goods such as mirrors and swords is essential to confirm the grave of a powerful person.

Archaeologist Chuhei Takashima:
"There is a greater influx of earth and sand than I imagined, and I think the bones are missing, but bronze mirrors, iron swords or swords, and balls are likely to remain, so they may be buried in the subdivision. We need to find out what kind of mirror it is, and whether it is good in China or common."

The evil horse kingdom that is said to have existed in the late Yayoi period is still advocated by the "Kinai theory" and the "Kyushu theory", and its location is unknown.

Yoshinogari has been regarded as one of the possible places in the "Kyushu theory", but since the tomb of the king of the late Yayoi period has not been found, it is not known what its position was in the era of the Evil Horse Kingdom.

Mr. Takashima spoke about the investigation of the grave as follows and expressed his expectations.

"It is linked to the late Yayoi period, when the huge ring settlement of Yoshinogari was formed, and we hope that this investigation of the tombs of influential people will lead to excavations that will have an impact on the Evil Horse Taikoku controversy."

Saga Prefecture will continue the survey every day unless it rains, and will announce the results.

The full extent of the coffin, which was opened over the time of about 1800 years, will be revealed soon.

Saga Broadcasting Station Reporter
Mano Joined the station in 2018 I have been living in Saga for 6 years. Currently, he focuses on history and culture. His hobby is visiting architectural and historical sites.

Saga Broadcasting Station Director
Yasui joined the station in 2020 After "The world is full of wants", he is currently a member. His hobby is finding delicious Japan sake shops in Saga.