JAPAN MULLS RE-EXCAVATION OF ANCIENT TOMB IN OSAKA PREFECTURE
The Imperial Household Agency is considering excavating Daisen Kofun in western Japan, the country's largest keyhole-shaped tomb mound, in a conservation project that could begin around next fall, sources close to the plan said, Kyodo news agency reported.
The tomb mound in Osaka Prefecture, dating back to around the middle of the 5th century, is under control of the agency as the mausoleum of Emperor Nintoku, while academic debate continues over who was actually buried there.
Japan's largest ancient mound, officially called Daisen Kofun, one of the sites collectively called the Mozu-Furuichi tumulus clusters in Osaka Prefecture, including Emperor Richu's mausoleum, have been recommended for addition to the World Cultural Heritage list by an advisory panel of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
If the planned re-excavation project is carried out, it would be the first digging since an ancient burial complex comprising 49 tombs including Daisen Kofun was added to the World Heritage list in 2019, the sources said. Archaeologists and historians hope the envisioned research on the tomb mound will shed light on its structure, many aspects of which remain mysterious. Daisen Kofun, officially 486 meters in length, is believed to have been larger when originally built, with a recent 3D study estimating the mound was at least 525 meters long.