Japanese archaeologist found ancient earthworks that might be first hard evidence to existence of a 7th century walled city. The fortifications possibly surrounded the city of Dazaifu, or the regional government in the Kyushu region, northern Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.
The site is inside the Maehata ruins in Chikushino, located about seven kilometres south-east of where the Dazaifu government had its headquarters. The mound consists of two layers of earth, with the eastern side sharply sloped, measuring about 500 metres and presumed to have been part of a long line of fortifications consisting of castles connected by earthworks, on a vast and roughly circular boundary. The connecting fortifications raise the intriguing possibility that Japan built walled cities that were also seen in China at that time.
The Dazaifu government served as a primary stronghold for Japan’s dealings with foreign powers. In the Battle of Baekgang on the Korean Peninsula in 663, Japan sent troops to help the Baekje forces and to fight against the allied forces of Silla and China’s Tang Dynasty. In the war known as the “Battle of Hakusukinoe” in Japan, Japanese troops were defeated by the allied forces of Silla and Tang. Immediately after that, the Dazaifu government moved swiftly to construct Mizu castle, Ono castle and Kii castle on flatlands or hills in preparation for a possible invasion by the allied forces. Given the construction method and the estimated production years of the earthenware, there is a high possibility that the mound was part of a structure to defend Dazaifu. The newly discovered earthworks deviate a little from the outline. But some researchers believe the earthworks formed part of a continuous protective wall.
(after Toshiyuki Tsunenari & The Asahi Shimbun)