Palace of Japan's warrior queen discovered

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The building covering nearly 300 square metres was located close to the city of Sakurai and the former Japanese capital of Nara, 300 miles south-west of Tokyo.

Built on stilts, the structure was found beside three other aligned buildings, leading archaeologists to believe it is the site of Himiko's Yamatai palace.

"A building cluster that is placed in such a well-planned manner is unprecedented in Japan at that period in time," Hironobu Ishino, director of the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Archaeology, told Kyodo News.

The discovery coincided with celebrations today to mark the 20th anniversary of the enthronement of the present emperor.

Queen Himiko is a popular character in Japanese history. She was apparently able to wield great power in the Yamatai Kingdom from around the end of the second century. Legends handed down from the time describe her as "being skilled with magic".

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