largest tomb-sarcophagus was discovered in the ruins of Yoshinogari, an archaeological site from the Yayoi Period (c. 5th century BC – 3rd century AD) in Saga Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan. The tomb dates from the end of the 2nd century to the middle of the 3rd century. The sarcophagus pit, 3.2 meters (10.5 ft) long and 1.7 meters (5.6 ft) wide, is much larger than any of the other 18 found at the site. They are usually about two meters (6.6 ft) long, and before that the longest was 2.7 meters (8.9 ft). The stone sarcophagus itself is 2.3 meters (7.5 ft) long and 0.65 meters (2 ft) wide at its widest point.
The lid consists of four stone slabs engraved with numerous linear symbols, including crosses and bars. It is believed that they have apotropaic properties, ward off evil and protect the dead. Looks like they worked in this case. The tomb has not yet been opened, but it is intact and undamaged, so archaeologists believe that it was never looted and may contain historically important funerary items.
The Yoshinogari site is vast, covering about 40 hectares, and has been continuously excavated since its discovery in 1986. It contains the remains of settlements, granaries, bronze casting workshops, a watchtower, a barrow burial, and over 3,000 jar burials. The burial mounds and jug burials date back to the early and middle Yayoi period. The newly discovered sarcophagus tomb is the only late Yayoi tomb discovered at this site.
It is secluded, not part of a larger burial ground. It was discovered on top of a hill where a Shinto shrine was built much later. The area has never been excavated before because of the temple, but it was relocated last year, opening up the opportunity for excavation. The grave is located on a hill with a magnificent view, and it could be the best place for burial. The deceased must have been an influential person.
This place, which is a national park and includes replicas of the ancient settlement and other attractions, is currently open to the public. Excavations of the tomb-sarcophagus will resume next week. Archaeologists plan to open the lid of the coffin and examine its contents.