Division of Department of Japanese Studies Department of Archaeology

We study and research the activities and culture of ancient human societies

Archaeology is a field of history that explores human societies of the past and their cultures. Archaeology differs from other historical disciplines in that it reconstructs history by investigating excavated sites, such as the ruins of government fortifications (josaku) and settlements, or remnants of prehistoric dwellings. The Paleolithic period, the Jomon period, the Yayoi period, the Kofun period, ancient history, the middle ages, or modern times — everything is studied directly through surviving historical sites or relics. Students of our department learn the basics of archeological research as they participate in excavations and catalogue and analyze excavated materials. This training is necessary for anyone who wishes to become a real archaeologist in the future. Our museum houses a rich assortment of historical artifacts that are considered the model archaeological collection in Japan. Important Cultural Properties (nationally designated) alone comprise 477 exhibits. Furthermore, various natural sciences are also applied in the research of ruins and relics. Our current research projects cover many topics: age measurement of historical remnants; the structure and living environment of ancient settlements and natural conditions that shaped them; hunting and fishing practices of the Jomon period; production activities of ancient people; the ways earthenware and stoneware pottery was made and used; etc. Students of our department learn how to use the latest analytical instruments and observation equipment in their research. We are also actively involved in international exchange with countries like the United States, France, Russia, China, South Korea, and others.

Message from Senior


3rd grade, Humanities and Social Sciences
High school : Niigata Prefectural Kashiwazaki

Recommended book : The Fantastic Deer-Man by Makime Manabu
Reason : The Fantastic Deer-Man is a historical fantasy that takes place in Nara. It goes without saying that those interested in history will enjoy it. But since the book is lightly written and presents the captivating fabric of human relationships between characters rich in individuality, I would like to recommend it to everyone.

Highlights of the Faculty of Arts and Letters

I joined the Department of Archaeology because I was interested in history and wanted to deal with material objects. Every year I participate in excavations organized by the department and personally dig up artifacts like stoneware and earthenware pots. Moreover, relics are also used in the classroom, so we study with various artifacts at hand. It is an invaluable experience. I find archaeology such an attractive field because it allows us to touch and feel the lives of our ancient predecessors. All members of our department work companionably to restore history. Why don’t you join our effort? The Department of Archaeology is waiting for you!

To everyone aiming for the Faculty of Arts and Letters

It is often said that you have to switch from passive to active learning after you enter university. In order to do this successfully, you must have a sense of purpose, to know what you want to do and for what reasons. Therefore you should start searching for the answers to these questions and for the things that will hold your attention while you are still in high school. Do not limit yourself to a single field — instead, try to cover as wide range of subjects as possible. You will surely find a major at the Faculty of Arts and Letters that will cover the interests you have developed in high school. Moreover, this is the best place to pursue these interests further. Please join our faculty!