Have Archaeologists Discovered Himiko’s Tomb?

Queen Himiko (卑弥呼) and her kingdom, Yamatai (or  Yamatai-koku) (邪馬台国), play a central role in the popular video game Tomb Raider 2013. But did you know that in February 2013, a group of researchers were granted access to a burial mound in Sakurai (桜井), Nara Prefecture, Japan, which may be the actual final resting place of this mysterious queen?

The Hashihaka burial mound, the possible final resting place of Queen Himiko
The Hashihaka Burial Mound (箸墓古墳). Could this be Queen Himiko’s tomb?
(Photo credit: tirol28)

The location of Yamatai-koku is a subject of intense debate within Japanese archaeological circles. Some believe that it was located as far south as Okinawa (沖縄) while others believe that it was located in Kyūshū (九州), the third largest island of Japan. Others argue that it was located somewhere in the Kansai region (関西地方) of Japan’s largest island, Honshū (本州).

There is growing support for the theory that Yamatai-koku was based in the vicinity of Nara (奈良) and that Himiko was laid to rest in the Hashihaka kofun tomb (箸墓古墳) in Sakurai. Although the researchers who were granted permission to visit the mound have not been allowed to collect any samples from the site, it is hoped that their research will pave the way for formal excavations and thus shed some light on this shadowy figure and her lost kingdom.

Source: Researchers Survey Possible Tomb of  Ancient Queen Himiko (Daily Yomiuri via NewsOnJapan.Com)

Update: I got the chance to visit the site of the Hashihaka burial mound in September 2015 during a family visit to Japan. And you can read my account of my pilgrimage to Himiko’s tomb over here!

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About Kelly M

Kelly McGuire is a writer, part-time translator, and gamer who is passionate about archaeology, language learning, travel, and wildlife conservation. She tweets under the username @TRHorizons and is the admin and chief content creator for Tomb Raider Horizons.

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