Large Stone Tomb Unearthed at Yoshinogari Ruins

Courtesy of Saga prefectural government
A stone tomb unearthed at the Yoshinogari ruins is believed to have been created in the late Yayoi period.

SAGA — A stone tomb thought to have been created for an influential person about 1,800 years ago has been unearthed at the Yoshinogari ruins in Saga Prefecture.

The tomb is believed to have been made in the late Yayoi period, from around the latter half of the second century to the middle of the third century, the prefectural government said Monday.

The lid of the tomb comprises stone plates with a combined length of about 2.3 meters and a width of up to 65 centimeters, according to the prefecture. Line markings have been identified on the surface of the tomb.

The burial pit holding the tomb is about 3.2 meters long and about 1.7 meters wide, larger than those of 18 other tombs discovered at the ruins, which are located in an area spanning the municipalities of Kanzaki and Yoshinogari.

The tomb is situated on the top of a hill with commanding views of the surrounding area. The location and size of the tomb are among the reasons why the prefecture believes it was likely created for an influential person.

The prefecture plans to lift the lid of the tomb to check the contents on Monday at the earliest.

A shrine that had been at the location of the tomb prevented its excavation until recently. After the shrine was relocated in February 2022, the prefecture began moving forward with excavation plans.