Research projects

Medieval Towns of Japan and Europe

In recent years, major new archaeological discoveries have redefined the development of towns and cities in the Japanese archipelago. The uncovering of the plans of major port towns such as Sakai, Kusado Sengen and Ichijōdani, and the revealing of early phases in the development of cities such as Kamakura and Hakata provide an important new resource in understanding the cultural and economic processes which shaped medieval Japan.

Our location in the best preserved Medieval city in Britain, Norwich, inspired a project comparing urban archaeology in Europe and Japan. Beginning with a major international conference in Norwich supported by the Japan Foundation followed up with bilateral research visits, this project is resulting in the publication of the Archaeology of Medieval Towns: Case Studies from Japan and Europe, published by Archaeopress in 2020. This fully illustrated book provides a sampler of these findings for a western audience. The new discoveries from Japan are set in context of medieval archaeology beyond Japan by accompanying essays from leading European specialists.