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Yoshinori Aboshi, the archaeologist who in 1972 discovered the renowned Takamatsuzuka tomb in his home village of Asuka, Nara Prefecture, died of cancer Saturday night, his family said. He was 78.

A graduate of Ryukoku University’s graduate school, Aboshi was an associate professor at Kansai University and a researcher at the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara in Nara when he led the team that found the tomb.

Dating from the late seventh and early eighth centuries, the tomb features colorfully painted walls. Aboshi was a leading opponent of a plan by the Cultural Affairs Agency to uncover the detailed structure of the tomb mound after deterioration of the wall paintings and the spread of mold came to light.

He helped many young archaeologists and was an adviser to a study team on another ancient tomb known as Kitora, also in Asuka.

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