Ancient stone sluiceway of Asuka

An ancient stone sluiceway which includes a turtle-shaped stone basin has been excavated from among the Sakafuneishi ruins in Asuka. The sluiceway was situated 2.5 meters to the south of the oval- and turtle-shaped basins.

Turtle-shaped water facility unearthed at Sakafuneishi ruins

Turtle-shaped water facility unearthed at Sakafuneishi ruins

Archaeologists believe that the ancient stone sluiceway channeled water from a spring (that still flows today) to the turtle-shaped basin.

Various sculpted stone relics believed to be evidence of the existence of a water source near the ruins of the seventh-century Asukakyo palace had also already been unearthed at the site. The opening of a square shaft in the direction of the spring measuring 1.8 meters x 2.4 meters was surrounded by stone blocks. At the center of the shaft was a tower 1.3 meters high. The discovery of the sluiceway is thought to support the view that the Sakafuneishi ruins were used by Empress Saimei (594-661) for religious services using water from these channels.

Sakafuneishi ruins

Sakafuneishi ruins

These findings were the first time archaeologists succeeded in tracking down a water source and the path that water would have taken.

2 responses to “Ancient stone sluiceway of Asuka

  1. very interesting the boulder with what appear to be carved channels for water? any other photos of that?

    • Other sources say the structure resembles those in ancient Korea used for playing a game involving floating cups of sake down the channels. There are more photos I’m sure, if I track them down I’ll point you their way or post them.

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