Photo/IllutrationA surveying technician examines the mural inside the Kiyotosakuoketsu tomb, a government-designated historical heritage site, in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 9. (Tatsuo Kanai)

  • Photo/Illustraion

FUTABA, Fukushima Prefecture--Precise 3-D data on a tomb containing an ancient mural and situated about 3 kilometers from the wrecked Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was being collected on Feb. 9-10.

The Kiyotosakuoketsu tomb is in the difficult-to-return zone with high radiation levels due to the 2011 nuclear disaster, and the mapping is being done in preparation for future unforeseeable circumstances.

A spiral pattern, animals including some people on horses and other objects are painted in red on a wall inside the tomb, which is well-known and represents northern Japan.

Tohoku University, in collaboration with the town government of Futaba, is collecting the data on the government-designated historical heritage site, which dates to the seventh century.

The data collected were on the tomb's exact shape and the artwork within.

“We want to collect the accurate data as this is a valuable cultural asset,” said Atsushi Fujisawa, an archaeologist of Tohoku University Museum.

Fujisawa and technicians from a land surveying company measured the tomb until Feb. 10 with a 3-D scanner while wearing protective clothing to prevent potentially damaging fungus spores from outside from entering the site.

On part of the mural, some minerals have crystallized in white. A tree root hangs from the ceiling of the tomb.