Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High-tech inspired insights into Japan's ancient 'Kofun' burial mounds

Date:
June 19, 2013
Source:
Okayama University
Summary:
Fusion of traditional archaeology with cutting edge information technology has been used to uncover the mysteries of an ancient civilizations.

Detail of a mirror frame showing a deity and beast visualized from data of 3D scans.
Credit: Image courtesy of Okayama University

Professor Izumi Niiro is an archaeologist using powerful geographic information systems technology to accurately survey Japanese burial mounts or 'Kofun' built between the third to seventh centuries.

"I first became aware of geographic information systems during a sabbatical at Southampton University in 1991," explains Professor Niiro. "I decided to experiment with this technology for archaeological surveying when I returned to Japan. It enables me to visualize and analyze many types of geographical information such as topographic details of maps."

Initially Professor Niiro started by using IDRISI from Clark University. "These days I use GRASS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) open source system software," says Professor Niiro. "The data analysis was initially done using the Perl programming language, but these days I use Python." Professor Niiro confides that there are very few archaeologists in Japan, if any, who produce their own software programs to analyze geographic information.

Findings by Professor Niiro include visualization of a bronze mirror from the early Kofun Period, third century. "I wrote my own software to visualize the surface of the mirror based on 3D scan information," explains Professor Niiro. "Our results clearly show a triangular-rimmed mirror that is decorated with deities and beasts."

Japan has many Kofun sites. Fig. 3 shows the distribution of typical 'key-holed' burial mounds in Okayama Prefecture. The largest site in Okayama and the fourth largest in Japan is the Tsukuriyama Kofun -- the burial mound of the king of the 'Kibi' completed in the fifth century. The tomb consists of the main Tsukuriyama burial mound and six smaller structures to the south. The dimensions of the Tsukuriyama Kofun are: length-350m, key-hole diameter-200m, height-31 m, and front length-215m. "Our analysis shows that it was built using very precise procedures using Chinese 'shaku' units of length," says Professor Niiro. "One shaku is 232 mm."

Recently, Professor Niiro is extending his research activities to the effect of disasters on culture and civilization. "Volcano eruptions have had tremendous effects on the environment and human culture," says Professor Niiro. "In particular the sixth century saw unprecedented changes in the environment. In Japan, the Emperor of the time ordered the storage of rice in northern Kyushu to assist people in Korea who were affected by disasters precipitated by global climate changes. Similar disastrous effects of climate changes occurred in Ireland. The recent massive earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku has led to the rise in 'disaster archaeology'. The Kofun Period ended in 600 AD probably due to climate change. This led to the introduction of Buddhism in Japan. Archeologists still have a lot to do. "


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Okayama University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Okayama University. "High-tech inspired insights into Japan's ancient 'Kofun' burial mounds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619161548.htm>.
Okayama University. (2013, June 19). High-tech inspired insights into Japan's ancient 'Kofun' burial mounds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619161548.htm
Okayama University. "High-tech inspired insights into Japan's ancient 'Kofun' burial mounds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619161548.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iconic 'Easy Rider' Chopper Bike to Go on Auction Block

Iconic 'Easy Rider' Chopper Bike to Go on Auction Block

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) The iconic Harley-Davidson motorbike ridden by Peter Fonda in the 1969 classic "Easy Rider" is to go under the hammer in California, and auctioneers predict it will make at least $1 million. Duration: 01:09 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) Egypt's antiquities minister denied Tuesday claims that the Djoser pyramid, the country's first, had been damaged during restoration work by a company accused of being unqualified to do such work. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) King Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and now researchers examining his skull think they know how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins