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Research projects

Globalising British Archaeology Through a Japanese Lens

British and Japanese archaeology have had close connections since the late 19th century, when pioneering Japanese archaeologists such as Tsuboi Shogoro and Hamada Kosaku studied in London, and William Gowland and Neil Gordon Munro were among the first westerners to investigate archaeological sites in Japan. We regularly welcome students and specialists in Japanese archaeology from around the world to the Institute, and organise tours of British and European archaeology for Japanese visitors, and tours of Japanese archaeology for interested non-Japanese.

In 2016 we instigated the world’s first twinning of archaeological sites – between the Grimes Graves Neolithic flint mines in Thetford in the east of England, and the Hoshikuso prehistoric obsidian mines in Nagawa-machi, in central Honshu. We will be developing further collaborations between Japanese and European archaeology in the future, and are investigating how the international significance of archaeological sites in both Britain and Japan can be enhanced and better understood.

Image: Gowland standing in the main burial chamber of one of Tsukahara Kofun group mound. © Trustees of the British Museum

The Global Perspectives on British Archaeology Project

The Global Perspectives on British Archaeology Project explored key archaeological sites from East Anglia set in a global context. Six sites were examined ranging in date from 850,000 BP to the later medieval period. From footprints left by the earliest inhabitants of northern Europe on Norfolk’s coast to the buried prehistoric landscapes of the Fens, from the Neolithic flint mines of Grimes Graves to the Anglo-Saxon burial mounds of Sutton Hoo, East Anglia boasts some of the finest remains from the ancient past, of great importance for both British and world history.

Global Perspectives on British Archaeology presents research into East Anglia’s heritage in a broad international context, encouraging us to think about the region’s place in the wider world, in the past, present and future.

Working with heritage professionals from key East Anglian sites, we have been exploring how we can unlock the global significance of the region’s rich heritage. This has included a series of public events, a travelling exhibition with our ‘Archaeoglobe’, and development of a series of specially commissioned digital animations, exploring a range of exciting international sites and connections to gain new perspectives on some of the most iconic heritage sites in the UK.