Photo/IllutrationHiroshima city government workers conduct an exploratory excavation to preserve remains of the city's atomic bomb devastated downtown at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima’s Naka Ward on Dec. 4. The cenotaph for atomic bomb victims can be seen in the rear left. (Koichi Ueda)

  • Photo/Illustraion

HIROSHIMA--The city started an exploratory excavation at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park here on Dec. 4 to preserve and exhibit ruins of its devastated downtown from the 1945 atomic bombing.

Workers will dig trenches in two or three zones to see if any items can be discovered that are suitable for preservation and exhibition. The trenches are 50 centimeters wide and 5 meters in length each.

On the morning of Dec. 4, around 10 workers hired by the city government scraped the ground and dug with hoes and other items. They plan to dig to a depth of 60 to 70 cm on average.

The exploratory excavation is being carried out at a part of greenbelts located on the northern side of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum’s east building, and about 300 meters south from ground zero. This surrounding area of the north-south street was then called “Tenjinmachi-suji street.”

The “Nakajima area,” including Tenjinmachi, was one of the best downtown areas in Hiroshima, where wooden houses and shops were lined up and about 1,300 households and about 4,400 people lived. But they were all destroyed by the atomic bomb.

The excavation work is not open to the public from the aspect of preserving the ruins. Haruaki Nakagawa, the Hiroshima city employee who is in charge of passing on the experiences of the atomic bombing, said, “I would like to make an exhibition that can convey straightforwardly that this was the place where many people lived their normal daily lives.”

The results of the excavation will be reported at an experts meeting to be held in March.