SEAA Society for East Asian Archaeology

Society for East Asian Archaeology (euroEAAN):
in conjunction with Joint East Asian Studies Conference
, 2.-4. April 1997, Durham
Abstracts of Papers presented

CHEN Yu-Mei (Yenching Institute, Harvard University, USA), Cultural Contact and Material Culture Change: An Ethnoarchaeological Example from the Yami of Orchid Island

This paper examines a specific example of material culture change — the public housing project carried out among the Yami of Orchid Island since 1966. The functionalist and systemic approach of New Archaeology neglects culture as autonomous and treats material culture as passive. The data from the Yami shows that the dynamic and trajectory of material culture change is much more complex. The material aspect and symbolic aspect of material culture are each linked with different socio-cultural aspects which affect the dynamic and trajectory of change in specific ways.


DALLAIS Philippe (Neuchatel University, Switzerland), Japanese Archaeology and Ainu Sites Excavation in the 90s: Methodology, new Trends, Controversies, and its Popularization

Hokkaido is the northernmost island of Japan where still live thousands of Ainu people. Historic, ethnohistoric and archaeological data inform us that they also occupied a huge portion of Honshu, Sakhalin, Kouril islands and other regions like the southern Amur river basin and Kamtchatka. Among these areas, extensive excavations are only undertaken in Hokkaido and Honshu, but the denomination "Ainu archaeology" (from now: AA~ 1250-1868 AD) hardly cross the Tsugaru Strait. In the 80s scientific programs started with Sakhalin and neighbouring, a valuable co-operation, but not paying full attention to AA problematics. In general the major focus in Okhotsk culture.
General perception of what could be AA between Occidental and Japanese scholars differs diametrically: the first would sometimes allow Jomon to belong to AA, and the other deny that AA is something else that the cultural period following Satsumon period (even if the difference is timid from many points of view, at least until the end of the XVIIth century). Moreover, the word ethnoarchaeology is banned and there are no Ainu archaeologists in Hokkaido.
This paper wishes to introduce a provisory documentary evaluation of the AA, an island archaeology's controversial period, illustrated with the data collected from my two fieldworks (93', 95'). I went to Hokkaido as a collaborator of the Chitose Archaeological Center, and also conducted ethnological research with present-day Ainu people in Chitose and all over Hokkaido. We excavated sites belonging to Ainu, Satsumon, Zokujomon and Jomon periods. I also worked at the Tokyo University Archaeological Field Research Labority in Tokoro (near Abashiri), directed by Professor Utagawa, where we excavated the Ainu Tokoro chashi site, and went to Sakhalin. Thanks to my active participant observation, I had the chance to meet many scholars, curators, field archaeologists, to interview them, to visit many sites, study collections, and attend conferences. We will travel from the field and theoretical methodological problematics, illustrated with parsimonious examples, to an anthropological approach analysis of the AA's production, concluding with some epistemological remarks on the past and future of AA in Japan and abroad.


GRAYSON James H. (Centre for Korean Studies, University of Sheffield), East Asian Foundation Myth: Is the Myth of Tan'Gun Unique?

For this paper, I propose to examine the different types of national foundation myths of the various peoples of Northeast Asia in relation to the Myth of Tan'gun. A typology of foundation myth structures will be outlined and the unique characteristics of the Myth of Tan'gun will be discussed. The method of analysis will be a structural analysis based on the idea that the narrative structure of oral literature is like a drama with scenes which develop the overall themes and reach a conclusion. The conclusion will constitute the purpose and function of the narrative. Comparison made between other foundation myths and the Myth of Tan'gun will be based on the narrative structure of each myth. Some observations about the possible relationship between the ancient peoples of the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago will be made.
The paper will discuss the following topics in order:

1. Structural Types of Foundation Myths in Northeast Asia
a. The Cheju Type
b. Ko Chumong Type
c. Tan'gun Type

2. The Structure, Meaning and Function of the Myth of Tan'gun
a. The Two Textual Traditions of the Thirteenth Century
(i) The Samguk yusa Tradition
(ii) The Chewang Jjnggi Tradition
b. Later Developments in the Fifteenth Century
(i) The Ungje-si
(ii) The Sejong sillok, "P'yongyang chiri-bu"

3. Structural Comparison with the Japanese Imperial Foundation Myth in the Kojiki and its Implications.

The paper will propose that there is a general structural pattern of national foundation myths in Northeast Asia which follows the four-fold scenic structural pattern of Conception of the Maiden, Birth of the Hero.

JIAO Tianlong (Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Harvard University, USA), New Excavations at Qianzhangda and the Study of Xue in Late Shang Period

Located 25 kilometers south of Tengzhou City, Shandong Province, Eastern China, the site of Qianzhangda, a major site of the Shang Period, has been excavated in 7 seasons during the period from 1981 to 1995. Two cemeteries, which respectively lies on the uplands south and north of modern Qianzhangda village, have been recovered, within which more than 70 tombs, 3 chariot pits and a number of sacrificial animal pits have been found. Located 1 kilometer east of the ruined city of the Xue State in Warring States period, these remains belong to the Xue State as it existed in the Shang Period.
Among the graves in the northern cemetery, three are large with two ramps, four are medium with one ramp, plus more than twenty small burials. The structure and size of the large and medium tombs suggest that they were probably the Xue kings' graves. Although all of them were badly looted, their structure and spatial arrangement provide essential aspects of the history and cultures of Xue, within which the similarity and difference with Shang royal cultures can be analyzed.
The southern cemetery was very well preserved and yielded a large number of bronzes, jades, lacquer ware, and ceramics. The graves are clearly different from each other in terms of size, structure, quality and quantity of the funerary objects, but none has a ramp. Located in the south of the cemetery, the three chariot pits were arranged in one line from east to west; each of them are different in terms of size and furnishings.
The current archaeological records reveal that Qianzhangda is the capital of Xue State in Shang Period; knowledge of it is essential to the study of the relationship between Shang and the Dongyi population.

KANER Simon (Dept of Archaeology, University of Cambridge), Foragers in Snow Country: the later Jomon in Hokuriku

The overwhelming impression given by Japanese archaeology is the immense scale of the operation - as Richard Pearson has recently pointed out - big budget, big business. Japanese archaeology has also been described as Archaeology of No Theory, a directionless scramble to rescue as much of the past as possible in the fact of unprecedented destruction through development.
Within this scenario, however, it is possible to discern research trends, often implicit rather than explicit, and often buried deep in seemingly inpenetrable excavation reports. These trends do give direction to the interpretation of recovered material.
This paper considers the themes that structure the study of the prehistoric forager peoples of Hokuriku and makes some suggestions regarding the formulation research agendas in Japanese prehistory.


KENDALL, Laurel (American Museum of Natural History New York, USA),
Looking for The People' Under Glass: The National Folklore Museum of Korea

It is now widely recognized that public museums emerged with the development of national consciousness in Europe. Critiques and interpretations of the museum enterprise are usually framed within a Western horizon: the colonial metropole gathers tribute goods and plunder unto itself. But museums have also been conspicuous monuments to emergent nationalisms throughout the globe. The stories that museums tell about a people in a place, the judgements that inform the spatial and visual construction of the telling, may be as varied as the national identities that museums of national and local culture seek to make manifest, and the content of these stories may shift over time. What types of representation are considered particularly appropriate to a national museum of "folk" or "ethnology" defined within the frame of a modern nation state? Who are the appropriate subjects of display?
The National Folklore Museum of Korea emphasizes the unity and homogeneity of Korean culture through time and space. Like many similar museums throughout the world, it portrays cultural authenticity either in antique dress or in rural environs. With the relocation of the museum to new quarters in 1993, expanded exhibits, and an expanded concept of appropriate exhibits, tell a new story about the Korean "folk" as part of a larger narrative of national accomplishment. If the older exhibits provided a nostalgic backward glance at "the world we have lost," the new museum celebrates a folk who - over a millennium -  foreshadow Korea's late industrial accomplishments.


MIYAMOTO Kazuo, Social system of Neolithic Age in the middle and lower valley of Chang Jiang river

People lived in the base of rice cultivation in the neolithic age of these districts. I elucidate a division of labor by gender through the analysis of tombs in the former half of this age. I think female mainly worked for rice cultivation in this time. Male really joined to work for rice cultivation in the latter half of this age. The tools of rice cultivation were progressed and the kind of them was diverse in this time. So the efficiency of production increased and population increased too. It is supposed that social system of this time also was changed through the analysis of comopsition of house and settlement. In this stage walled villages appeared in the middle valley and a shrine appeared in the lower district to indicate the social progress. In addition I could show slides which indicate the excavation of a walled village site of Yinxiangcheng and a rice paddy site of Caoxueshang.


MORRIS Martin (Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Chiba University, Japan),  From the Ground Up: Japanese Architectural History & Archaeology

This paper would consider the impact of archaeological discoveries on our understanding of Japanese architectural history, and problems of interpretation and presentation of the archaeological evidence relating to buildings. In Japan, where the survival rate for old buildings is far lower, overall, than in the West, the need to supplement surviving structures with other evidence in order to reconstruct important areas of the country's architectural history is particularly acute, and archaeology has played an extremely important role in the reconstruction process.
Specifically, the paper would consist of the following sections:

1 ) A discussion of postwar shifts in the perception of the history of the built environment in Japan, in the light of archaeological discoveries. Examples discussed would include pit dwellings from prehistoric to mediaeval times, and the gradual recognition of their importance as a Japanese dwelling type, the gradual revelation of the architectural character of the palaces and mansions of the ancient capitals, and recent significant discoveries, such as structures at the Sannai Maruyama and Ikegami Sone sites.
2 ) A consideration of some of the techniques and problems associated with the reconstruction of buildings from archaeological data in Japan. Those relatively rare examples where some parts of the superstructure survive, such as Yamaki, Kuroimine, and Yamada-dera would be discussed first. Then there would be a discussion of the more usual situation in which only a pattern of post holes or foundations is left, so that the use of other evidence to supplement archaeological data becomes necessary. Examples would be selected to give an idea of the range of such evidence, from haniwa and pictorial evidence such as emaki mono and the tatara diagram in the so-called Tetsuzan Hisho, to comparable surviving buildings, and some of the problems associated with the use of each considered. I am considering the use of a range of examples, but perhaps with the emphasis on Warrior houses from Imakoji Nishi site in 13th century Kamakura to Ichijodani, Azuchi, and Edo period elite complexes such as Hikone-jo Ni-no-maru Goten.
3) A consideration of problems concerning the presentation of conjectural reconstructions, including the use of 2-dimensional illustrations, the use of models, and in particular the current boom in the erection of full-size replicas of parts of ancient complexes (Kazusa Kokubuji, a street at Ichijodani, the Suzaku Mon and T6-in at Heijo-kyu...). How far are such replicas to be regarded, and how desirable are they?
4) A discussion of the use of archaeological excavation in the repair of buildings designated as Important Cultural Properties, and what they reveal about earlier structures on the same site or early phases in the history of a surviving structure. Finally, there is the point that the buildings themselves can be read as archaeological artifacts.

SEYOCK Barbara (Heinrich-Heine Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany), Hibaru site and Wajin-den research

Hirabaru site (Fukuoka-ken, Itoshima-gun, Maebara-cho) was already excavated in 1965 and for long years had been only reluctantly discussed. Due to a posthumously published book of Hirabaru's excavator HARADA Dairoku  (in 1991), Hirabaru has recently attracted the attention of a wider audience of Japanese archaeologists.
Geographically situated in the middle of a region which was identified as Ito-kuni one of the 29 kuni mentioned in the Wajin-den, Hirabaru now ranks among the most important Yayoi(/Kofun) sites of this area.
Like nearby Mikumo and Iwara-yarimizo sites Hirabaru produced a burial with a rich variety of grave goods, such as cylindrical and curved beads, bronce mirrors and a sword with a ring pommel (sokantō no tachi)- Especially the quantity of bronze mirrors (42, containing 35 TLV mirrors and the largest boseikyō ever found) and the interesting features of the mound burial led to the conclusion that Hirabaru must have been the burial place for a high ranking person, probably a king/queen of Ito-kuni. Considering the vast amount of beads the burial of a female is supposed. HARADA went so far as to connect the burial with the Japanese foundation myth, interpreting the posthole remains which surround the wooden split log coffin (waridake-gata mokkan) as proof for early Shinto gateways (tori).
The burial site is supposed to be from the middle of the 2nd century AD to the first half of the 3rd century. Therefore it coincides in time with the socalled "time of Himiko" (Himiko no jidai), the time when legendary Queen Himiko of Yamatai ruled over a confederation of allmost 30 Wa (= Japanese) kuni.
After summarizing the main features of Hirabaru site in comparison with the other two important sites of this region, I would like to discuss this site on the background of Ito-kuni (Wajin-den) research. Moreover I would like to take a look on HARADA'S interpretations and especially his terminology of a "Yayoi-Kofun", which aroused a vivid discussion in Japanese archaeological research.


STEPHENSON F. Richard (Department of Physics University of Durham), Chinese and Korean Astronomical Records

In this paper, examples of atronomical records and artefacts from ancient and medieval China and Korea are discussed. Written records of celestial phenomena as found mainly in the official histories of both countries include eclipses, comets and supernovae. Several important star charts which were compiled by official astronomers are still preserved; other less detailed representations of the stars have been discovered on the ceilings of tombs.
Emphasis will be placed on the reliability and accuracy of the various celestial records and artefacts - as determined using modern astronomical computations - and also the value of the records in modern science.


WAGNER Donald B. (Needham Research Institute, Cambridge), Early Iron in China

Until very recently it was a reasonable hypothesis that the first use of iron in China was in the Southeast, perhaps in the 6th century BC. New finds, together with old finds only recently studied and published, have changed this view considerably. It now seems likely that the technology of iron smelting diffused to China by the 8th century BC from the West via Scythian nomads in Central Asia.
Meteoritic iron had been used to some extent in China as early as the 1 1 th century BC for the blades of luxury weapons, cast into bronze handles sometimes inlaid with silver or precious stones. The tradition of making luxury weapons with cast-in iron blades continues to about the 5th century BC, but in this period the makers shift from meteoritic to smelted (presumably bloomery) iron. In a group of burials recently excavated near Sanmenxia, Henan, with cultural connections to the Northwest, five bronze-iron edged artefacts were unearthed, all clearly related in style, and on analysis it turns out that three are of meteoritic iron and two of smelted iron.
All this is tentative, for a good deal of material has not yet been properly published, and a further problem is that Russian archaeologists are divided on when or even whether the steppe peoples knew the technology of iron smelting. Nevertheless I suggest as a working hypothesis that the craftsman of an indigenous tradition of making luxury weapons with meteoritic iron blades, which were probably better than bronze weapons, at some time learned bloomery smelting from steppe peoples and began substituting bloomery iron for meteoritic iron. These weapons were probably not a match for bronze weapons, but by this time they were probably intended for display rather than actual fighting.
Perhaps it was not until this technology had spread to the Southeast that it was used to make anything useful. In most of China the only uses for bronze had been for ritual objects and weapons; the 'barbarian' peoples of the Southeast were the first in the region of Chinese influence to use bronze agricultural implements to any great extent, and iron presumably provided a useful cheap substitute for bronze in this sort of application. It was probably here that iron casting was first developed, beginning with the carburisation and melting of iron blooms in the kind of furnace that was used to melt bronze. The blast furnace probably developed here as well, as bloomeries were optimised for the purpose of providing iron for casting rather than forging.
By the 3rd century BC cast iron and wrought iron were both in wide use throughout China. As a general rule, with some important exceptions, weapons were made of wrought iron or steel and implements were made of cast iron. The problem of the brittleness of cast iron was ameliorated by annealing to make what is now commonly called 'malleable cast iron'.


WILKINSON Jane (Curator of East Asian Collections National Museums of Scotland), Problems of contextuality, with reference to the Ivy Wu Gallery, at the National Museums of Scotland.

This paper will look at the contexts of museum objects. What exactly does the museum object represent? A number of possibilities include the culture in which it originated, the interests of the collector, or the bias of the museum curator who picked it out amongst many similar objects as typical, atypical or just pretty.
Is it possible to read objects? Can this language be expressed in museum displays? Through examining the development of the Ivy Wu gallery, the problems it posed and the concepts which lie behind the final display the paper will discuss these questions and possible solutions.