Our excavation project on the remains of Palmyra originated in 1988, during the Nara Silk Road Exposition hosted by Nara Prefecture, when some exhibit artifacts were borrowed from Syria. A relationship grew out of that correspondence, and in 1990, Nara Pref. sent a research team (Project Leader: Takayasu Higuchi) on a mission to Palmyra, made up of members from Nara University, Kyoto University, Kyushu University, the Ancient Orient Museum Tokyo, and other institutions. The team continued to work with Syria for 11 years, until 2000, carrying out excavation work on three tombs in the southeast necropolis of Palmyra: a house tomb (Tomb A), and two underground tombs (Tomb C and Tomb F). In the course of the project, restoration and reconstruction was performed on the tomb of the brothers BWLH and BWRP (Tomb F), which had been constructed in 128. The project was based on the principle of anastylosis, in which the reconstruction work is clearly distinguishable from the original remains.
A follow-up excavation, restoration and reconstruction project entitled “A Study on Funerary Practices and Social Backgrounds in Palmyra” was carried out in the southeast necropolis from 2001 to 2005. The project was led by the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara in Nara, with the participation of other institutions such as the University of Shiga Prefecture, Kyushu University, the Ancient Orient Museum of Tokyo, the National Museum of Nature and Science of Tokyo, and Accord Co., and was funded by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Project Leader: Kiyohide Saito). Excavation work was carried out in three tombs: the oldest existing tomb in Palmyra (Tomb G), an underground tomb (Tomb E), and an underground tomb (Tomb H) constructed in 117 by TYBL. Further restoration and reconstruction work was conducted at Tomb H, inside which magnificent statues can be found in their original positions. Funding for this project was granted by the Sumitomo Foundation, and emphasis was placed on recreating the immediacy of the atmosphere at the time of excavation.