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- Adam Blackrock
Adam Blackrock first came to Japan in 1996 for the comics and giant robots, but stayed for the kofun (ancient burial mounds). The longer he stays, the more he realises how much he has yet to learn about the country, its culture, and its history. On his days off, he can often be found exploring a kofun or other archaeological site.
Tamakiyama Tumulus Group 珠城山古墳群 / Adam Blackrock
Location: Nara-ken, Sakurai-shi, Anashi; approximately 10 minutes’ walk east from
Makimuku Station on the JR Sakurai Line
Originally a group of three keyhole-shaped tumuli adjoining one another, the Tamakiyama tombs are
thought to have been built in succession from the mid- to late-6th century.
Visitors can freely access Numbers 1 and 2 via a set of stairs.
Number 1, the eastern-most tumulus, is over 50 metres long and has a southward-opening
burial chamber, which can be seen on the side of the mound if approaching from the south.
The 4.3 metre-long, 1.9 metre-high chamber was discovered when earth was being removed from
the mound in the 1950-60s, and an archaeological excavation was promptly carried out, unearthing
a variety of artifacts including swords, horse riding equipment, and jewellery.
A coffin assembled from several stone slabs was also found in the chamber; this is currently
on display outside the Museum of the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, in nearby Kashihara City.
Above the chamber, on the top of the Number 1 mound, is a small shrine. From here one can look south
over the nearby rooftops, rice paddies and ponds and see the sacred Miwayama (Mt. Miwa) on the left,
and the round section of the Hashihaka Tumulus on the right, with Mt. Miminashi and Mt. Unebi
in the distance. Looking towards the opposite (northern) side, one can see the full length of the Shibutani Mukoyama Tumulus across the fields and plastic hothouses.
Excavations have yet to reveal a burial chamber in mound Number 2, the largest of the three at
85 metres in length. Two burial chambers were found in mound Number 3, which was around
50 metres long, before most of it was subsequently removed in the 1950-60s.
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