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Site excavated in Nara may be remains of pond mentioned in ancient history recor


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« on: December 18, 2011, 03:40:47 am »



Site excavated in Nara may be remains of pond mentioned in ancient history records



The cross-section of a mound used as an embankment of a pond is pictured in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, on Dec. 5, 2011. The white poles in the rear of the photo show where a large building used to be located. (Mainichi)
The cross-section of a mound used as an embankment of a pond is pictured in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, on Dec. 5, 2011. The white poles in the rear of the photo show where a large building used to be located. (Mainichi)

KASHIHARA, Nara -- The remains of what is believed to be part of a pond described in ancient history and poetry books have been found here, city authorities have announced.

The Kashihara Municipal Board of Education announced Dec. 15 that the late 6th-century remains of what is likely an embankment of the ancient "Iware Pond" have been found in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture. The Iware Pond is mentioned in the history book "Nihon Shoki" (Chronicles of Japan), and the Nara-period poetry anthology "Manyoshu" (Collection of Myriad Leaves). The location of the pond had previously been unknown.

The remains of a large structure were also found on the embankment site, which some researchers believe to have been a facility for Emperor Yomei (died 587), the father of Prince Shotoku (574-622). The facility, called "Iware no ikenobe no namitsuki no miya," is described in the Chronicles of Japan as having stood by the pond.

The embankment was apparently part of an artificial pond built by damming up a river, and is the oldest known pond of its kind in Japan, according to city officials.

Researchers found a ridge spanning some 300 meters from east to west and 20 to 55 meters wide at the site. An 81-meter-long stretch of the ridge's eastern edge was found to have built up from a lower level. Researchers believe that the entire ridge served as a 3- to 4-meter-high embankment to dam the river. The pond's area is estimated to have been some 87,500 square meters.

It is believed that the embankment, as well as the nearby building and earthenware excavated around the area, were all built and manufactured in the 6th century, making the Iware Pond older than the Sayama Pond in Osakasayama, Osaka Prefecture, which dates back to the early 7th century. The Sayama Pond was previously believed to be the oldest known pond of its kind.

At the western edge of the embankment site stands a monument, on which an ancient poem is inscribed, reading, "This is my last chance to see the ducks singing in the Iware Pond as I am destined to die today." The poem is said to have been written in tears by Otsu-no-miko, the son of Emperor Tenmu, on the embankment before the former was executed for treason in 686.


http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111216p2a00m0na013000c.html
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