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TephroArchaeology in the North Pacific
edited by Gina L. Barnes and Soda Tsutomu. Paperback; 203x276mm; xviii+330 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white (92 plates in colour). (Print RRP £60.00). 83 2019. Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781789691726. Epublication ISBN 9781789691733.
Book contents page
‘TephroArchaeology’ is a translation of the Japanese word kazanbai kōkogaku (lit. volcanic ash archaeology), referring to a sub-discipline of archaeology that has developed in Japan in the last few decades. The first book compilation using the term, edited by the doyen of tephroarchaeology, geologist ARAI Fusao, appeared in 1993; chapters were written by 5 geologists, 3 archaeologists, 3 geographers, an engineer, and a historian. From its beginning, this subdiscipline has been interdisciplinary in approach and applied to all time periods throughout the Japanese Islands.

Honouring this tradition, a panel on TephroArchaeology was organized by Barnes & Soda at the World Archaeology Congress 8 meetings in Kyoto (August–September 2016). The scope of concern was broadened to include other parts of the world and further disciplines. Several of the papers presented at WAC8 are included here together with other invited papers that complete the North Pacific focus. Most of the chapters are case-studies written by their excavators in Japan, Canada, and the United States, but a historian and a behavioural psychologist contribute important perspectives and add world-wide content. The volume is rounded out by an extensive Preface, Introduction and Appendices by co-editor Barnes, and a historic contextualization of TephroArchaeology by co-editor Soda. A final appendix consists of a translation of the techniques of tephra identification by MACHIDA Hiroshi and ARAI Fusao, to whom the volume is dedicated.

The strengths of this book are many. It was primarily designed to bring into the English-speaking world the work being done by local archaeologists in Japan whose results are usually only accessible in Japanese. In addition to the meticulous excavation methodologies, innovative analytical techniques and interpretive analyses represented herein by all the authors are the variety of problems in human history that can be addressed through tephroarchaeological investigation. This subdiscipline may spawn a more general Volcanic Archaeology or Archaeological Volcanology as adherents grow and as volcanologists themselves take heed of the archaeological record to inform on eruption processes and products.

About the Editors
Gina L. BARNES: Professor Emeritus, Durham University, Barnes earned her PhD in Anthropology at the University of Michigan, followed by a career teaching East Asian Archaeology at Cambridge and Durham Universities. In addition to her cultural studies (State Formation in Korea, State Formation in Japan, Routledge 2001, 2007), she has always been involved in landscape archaeology and geoarchaeology. After taking a late BSc in Geology with the Open University, she formulated the subdiscipline of Tectonic Archaeology with her publications on Japanese Island geology, earthquake archaeology, tsunami archaeology, and now tephroarchaeology. She is a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS University of London, and an Affiliate of the Earth Sciences Department at Durham University. Her major publication, Archaeology of East Asia (Oxbow, 2015) is widely used as a textbook, and the Society for East Asian Archaeology (SEAA), which she founded in 1996, is the major professional venue for archaeologists of China, Korea and Japan.

SODA Tsutomu: As a Doctor of Science (Geography) from Tokyo Metropolitan University, Soda studied tephra identification within Quaternary research in Japan under the doyens of tephrochronology, MACHIDA Hiroshi and ARAI Fusao. His research extends throughout Japan but focusses on Gunma Prefecture, having established Gunma’s natural history in the Quaternary and cooperating with archaeologists to research the history of natural hazards in this active volcanic area. He is a major tephrochronologist for archaeology in Japan, formerly with the Palaeoenvironment Research Institute Co, Ltd., but now running his own Institute of Tephrochronology for Nature and History, Co. Ltd., in Maebashi, Gunma. He teaches physical geography at Maebashi Institute of Technology since 1997 and lectures at Waseda and Gunma Universities. His research papers include contributions to the History of Gunma Prefecture (Gunma Pref., 1990), Kazanbai Kōkogaku (Kokon-shoin, 1993), Kōkogaku noTame no Nendai Sokuteigaku Nyūmon (Kokon-shoin, 1999), and the Manual of Kankyō Kōkogaku (Dōseisha, 2003).


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