Investigations on Hinokuma-dera Temple (Asuka-Fujiwara No. 176)

 Through the investigations of Hinokuma-dera Temple (the172nd investigation) carried out last year, the investigation sectors were fixed on the top on which the temple was located and the southeast foot of a hill.
 The 172nd investigation confirmed a huge posthole which is likely to be a flagpole holder located on the hilltop sector, and unlined ditches in the hill-foot sector. Taking into consideration unearthed artifacts, the unlined ditches are thought to have been constructed in ancient times, so we have investigated the part to which the unlined ditches theoretically extended.
 Through this investigation also, the unlined ditches conceivably running from the south to the north were identified anew. Moreover, it was confirmed that the ditches were, remarkably, about 2.0 meters wide and more than 85 centimeters deep. Although the traces of water flow are not yet obvious, we confirmed the existence of the ramifying ditches which induce water to flow down toward the hill foot side when the main stream is swollen.
 The artifacts unearthed from the unlined ditches include roof-tile fragments in addition to earthenware made at the end of the 6th century. We also confirmed traces of the processing referred to as "lattice hammering" on many of the roof-tile fragments, exhibiting features common among the older roof tiles often unearthed in Asuka.
 The structural remains of Hinokuma-dera Temple (designated as a historic site and you can see it in the field) suggest that it was constructed at about the end of the 7th century. Therefore, these roof-tile fragments and unlined ditches may be related to a temple which has ever been regarded as the predecessor temple of Hinokuma-dera Temple.
 Through past investigations of the Hinokuma-dera Temple, structural remains and artifacts presumed to be made in the same time period were found, clues to a temple predating it gradually increasing, in addition to the results acquired by this investigation. These unlined ditches may possibly indicate the precincts of a previous temple. Although the discovery of a ditch extension toward the north seems to be unlikely due to cultivation of the area over successive generations, there is still hope for success on the southern side. We hope that future investigations solve the mystery of the previous temple.

(KUROSAKA Takahiro, Department of Imperial Palace Sites Investigations)

Discovered the unlined ditches (Seen from the northwest)