Friday, May 02, 2008

Japanese Royal Tomb opened to scholars


"A rare visit by archaeologists to a fifth-century imperial tomb offers hope that other closely guarded graves in Japan might soon be open to independent study. This month a group of 16 experts led by the Japanese Archaeological Association released results from their February visit inside Gosashi tomb.

The event marked the first time that scholars had been allowed inside a royal tomb outside of an official excavation led by Japan's Imperial Household Agency.

Archaeologists have been requesting access to Gosashi tomb and other imperial sites since 1976, in part because the tombs date to the founding of a central Japanese state under imperial rule.

Gosashi tomb in western Japan's Nara Prefecture is revered as the resting place of Empress Jingu, the semi-legendary wife of the country's 14th emperor.

Jingu is thought to have ruled as regent for her son starting around A.D. 200.