The Hunt for Himiko Continues: Has Himiko’s Palace Been Found?

The search for the shaman queen Himiko and her kingdom Yamatai has long been one of the holy grails of Japanese archaeology but it seems that archaeologists are another step closer to pinpointing the exact location of her long-lost kingdom. Archaeologists working at the Makimuku archaeological site in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, one of the possible locations of Yamatai’s ancient capital, have uncovered the ruins of a building that may have been part of the queen’s residential quarters.

The newly excavated building at the Makimuku archaeological site
The newly-excavated building at the Makimuku archaeological site in Sakurai, Japan (Image credit: Asahi Shimbun)

The newly-excavated ruins lie to the east of a large building that had been discovered at the Makimuku site in 2009 and is thought to date back to the third century AD, the period during which Himiko and her successor Toyo/Iyo are thought to have lived and ruled. This latest discovery may not confirm the historicity of Himiko or her kingdom but it certainly lends credence to the theory that Yamatai was located in Yamato Province (the historic name of modern-day Nara Prefecture) and that Himiko may have been laid to rest in the nearby Hashihaka burial mound.

The location of Yamatai and the relationship between Yamatai and the Yamato rulers are still controversial topics within Japanese archaeological and historical circles but each new discovery made at the Makimuku site brings us closer to finding out the truth about Himiko and her mysterious kingdom.


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About Kelly M

Kelly McGuire is a writer, 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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