Sites & cities that bear the name of Ishibutai Kofun

Ishibutai Kofun

Today in : Japan
First trace of activity : ca. 6th century C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 6th century C.E
Recorded names : 石舞台古墳, Ishibutoya Kofun, 石太屋

Description : Ishibutai Kofun (石舞台古墳) is a stone kofun tumulus of the Asuka period in the east of Shimanoshō, Asuka, Nara Prefecture, Japan. The kofun is believed to be the tomb of Soga no Umako. It occupies a space of 54 m (177 ft), and is the largest known megalithic structure in Japan. The kofun is also known as the Ishibutoya (石太屋) Kofun. The Ishibutai Kofun is inferred to be the tomb of Soga no Umako (559? - 626), and his death during the reign of Empress Suiko is recorded in the Nihon Shoki. Summer, 5th month, 20th day. The Oho-omi died. He was buried in the tomb at Momohama. The historian and archeologist Sadakichi Kita (1871 - 1939) proposed that the Ishibutai Kofun is the above-mentioned "Momohana" tomb in the Nihon Shoki. Kita also proposed that the earthen mound of the Ishibutai Kofun was removed after Soga no Umako's death as a punishment of the Soga clan by the imperial government. The Ishibutai Kofun was first excavated by the archaeologist and academic Kōsaku Hamada (1881-1938). Imperial kofun have not been readily excavated in Japan. Due to its association with Soga no Umako, the Ishibutai tumulus does not have an imperial designation, and has thus seen extensive excavation. The kofun was first excavated in 1933, work on the base and moat began in 1935, and excavation of the tomb continued until 1975. The Ishibutai Kofun excavation yielded no significant finds. Funerary objects were probably lost to grave robbery quite soon after its construction. Stone shards to the southeast of the tomb are the remains of a tuff sarcophagus. Numerous examples of gilt and bronze implements, as well as earthenware shards were found in the banks of the tomb approach. The excavation also revealed that other similar flat stone kofun were built to the north and south of the existing structure. The Ishibutai Kofun was designated a historical remain in 1935. In 1954 the kofun was fully designated as a Special Historic Sites (特別史跡, tokubetsu shiseki), one of only 75 sites in Japan with this designation. As excavation of the Ishibutai Kofun continued after World War II, significant reconstruction of areas around the kofun were carried out. The kofun and its surrounding area is part of the Asuka Historical National Government Park.

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