Investigation of the Palace Courtyard of the Chodo-in (state-halls), Fujiwara Palace Site (Asuka-Fujiwara No. 174)

 Implementation of the excavation of the Palace Courtyard of the Chodo-in (state-halls), Fujiwara Palace Site, has been ongoing since April 2, 2012. Progress up until the end of June was reported in the previous issue of the Nabunken News, so here I would like to outline our progress from July until the end of September.

 The gross area of the section under investigation measures 1,850 sq. meters, and we have identified a fully gravel-paved open space. Since July, we have removed the gravel pavement extending over a one third of the area in the south of the investigation section, to investigate the conditions of the lower layers.

 In the lower layers of the gravel pavement, the courtyard part was land-leveled on a large scale for construction. This land leveling was undertaken through three processes; (i) the first land leveling to prepare the previous landform; (ii) the second land leveling involved in the full-scale development of the courtyard; and, (iii) the final land leveling carried out immediately before developing the gravel-paved open space.

 After digging into the second land-leveled soil in stages, we identified many structural remains including dug-standing pillar buildings, pillar rows, ditches, earth pits, etc. The dug-standing pillar buildings are concentrated in the southwest part of the section under investigation, located close to the buildings identified through the 169th investigations last year. The southeast part of the section under investigation has very few structural-remains of buildings except for a few pillar rows running north-south. In addition, a large earth pit with a diameter of 2.6 meters and depth of one meter was found, from which were unearthed eaves-end tiles used for the Chodo (state hall), etc...

 Most of these structural remains are possibly those associated with the period of construction of the Fujiwara Palace Site, involving the second land leveling.

 Furthermore, after we removed a part of the gravel pavement in the northern half of the investigation section, we identified the southern end of the swamp-like structural remains confirmed through past investigations. The scale of the swamp-like structural remains was found to be 50 meters north-south. However, it remains that the real identity of the "swamp-like structural remains" is unknown.

 This excavation will continue past this coming October. I hope you are looking forward to hearing future reports of our progress.

(IMAI Koki, Department of Imperial Palace Sites Investigations)

Discovered the structural remains of the lower layer (Seen from the northwest)