But archaeology in this part of the world is different from other places.Quickly changing language systems, and an early habit of religiously/politically motivated revisionist history, added to the reluctance of locals to trust outsiders, definitely hinders efforts to bring meaning to these ancient artefacts from a time long gone.In the end, the true origin and history of these enigmatic features of old-world Japan may be lost to the passage of time.We can learn much from the study of ancient traditions, customs and languages, but not everything survives the long march of the ages.The region is a sub-tropical climate, which offers problems with standard radiometric dating techniques, and there is little written history in the rural areas.Some researchers have asserted that the Rock Ship is related to navigation or trail marking, but such an elaborate construction for something like that seems unlikely.During that time, Asuka, which wasn’t yet referred to by that name, was overrun by opposing clans and religious factions.Nearing the end of the Tumulus period, Buddhist clans began to assume control of the region and retained control through the rise of Empress Suiko, which marked the beginning of the Asuka era.
The room is filled with smells: of earth, with an undertone of nail polish, overlaid with an aroma that takes a minute to decipher—the pungence of damp bone drying.
The area is known for its many Buddhist temples, shrines and statuary, but there are stone monuments in the hills surrounding Asuka that don’t fit with Buddhist style sculpture or construction, and no one seems to know who built them, or when.
The largest of those monuments is known as Masuda-no-iwafune, which is said to mean Rock Ship of Masuda.
century and perhaps Western chauvinism, and that their lack of familiarity with ancient Japanese cultural practices means that they will remain blind to potentially obvious purposes and meanings behind them.
Though much of the our understanding today comes from the work of researchers and archaeologists native to Japan, so that explanation may not carry much weight.