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Ancient Baekje Tomb Excavated in Japan

Posted December. 03, 2005 04:48,   


The Asukamura Education Committee said December 1 that a magnificent tomb believed to be that of a royal family member of the Baekje Dynasty in Askamura, Nara Prefecture in Japan, has been discovered.

The recently unearthed tomb is characterized by its stone chamber made of flagstones piled like bricks, which is similar to royal tombs of the Baekje Dynasty.

The committee estimated that, judging from pottery excavated, the tomb was built in 660 to 670 and that a male in his 40s or 50s was buried in it.

As fragments of a wooden coffin were varnished with lacquer, which was used only for those with high social status, experts say that the buried person is highly likely to be a Japanese royal family or Baekje royal family member who had stayed in Japan. The latter estimation prevails because there was no Japanese royal family member who died when the tomb was built.

Kunihiko Kawakami, professor of archeology at Kobe Yamate University, said that there is high possibility that the buried person was Changseong, a Baekje royal family member who came to Japan in 631 with his father but could not go back to Baekje because the country fell in 660 and died in 674.

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com