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

JAMES SCOTT LYONS, then a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded funding in October 2017 to aid research on “Historical Ecology and Ironworking Technology on the Fifth Century Osaka Plain,” supervised by Dr. Junko Habu. In combination with synthesis of legacy paleoenvironmental data, this project primarily used radiocarbon dating, charcoal identification, and slag analysis to clarify the relationship between ironworkers and their forest landscape at Ōgata on the Osaka Plain in the fifth and sixth centuries using a chaîne opératoire approach. Ironworkers at Ōgata had potential access to a wide variety of hardwood or softwood taxa, but used hardwood charcoal fuel, often of taxa not known for other uses in this period. Radiocarbon dating indicates that in the late sixth century, they began to exploit patches of newly available old growth forest for fuel. Slag analysis shows that at around the same time, ironworkers introduced new techniques to economize with respect to fuel. Additionally, they were engaged in producing or recycling iron objects that included the use of copper. Changes in ironworking chaînes opératoires indicate rising concern with fuel availability for ironworkers, reflect their prior insufficient management of forest resources, and a choice to economize fuel use. Instead of continuing their earlier practices, or negotiating for greater access to forest resources at the expense of other fuel-users, ironworkers managed the forest landscape and competing interests by introducing new ironworking techniques.