James Lyons

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9575

Approve Date

October 13, 2017

Project Title

Lyons, James Scott, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Historical Ecology and Ironworking Technology on the Fifth Century Osaka Plain,' supervised by Dr. Junko Habu

This project examines the role of fifth century ironworkers on the Osaka Plain in anthropogenic changes to the forest landscape, as well as that of the forests in mediating the relationship between the ironworkers and their products. The political economy of this context involved the large-scale production of iron objects and their distribution to outlying chiefs as part of a consolidation project following the apparent relocation of the political center from the Nara Basin to the Osaka Plain. Relying on imported raw materials, ironworkers made standardized prestige goods, and consumed vast quantities of charcoal fuel. At the same time, broadleaf evergreen forests continued to recede; however, the relationship between these phenomena remains unexamined. Mobilizing nearly four decades of legacy paleoenvironmental data and conducting original analyses of previously excavated ironworking residues from two sites as well as iron artifacts held in university collections in an innovative extended cha’ne op’ratoire approach, this project seeks to clarify how forest extent and composition changed over the course of the fifth century, how local ironworking practices were structured by these changes, and how those practices contributed to forest resource management under political pressure. As such, this research presents a significant expansion of both the historical ecology and archaeometallurgy of the Middle Kofun Period in Japan.