In this course we will explore the material and written culture of the Japanese archipelago’s “long seventh century.” This fascinating period of transition, classified under both the Kofun and Asuka periods, is characterized by the final stages of the construction of kofun mounded tombs, as well as the increased adoption from the continent of Buddhism, writing, and models for urban development and administration.

This close study will allow us to reflect on the beginnings of the historic period through the lenses of archaeology, history, state formation, urbanization, and the ritual landscape. We will also explore 19th- through 21st-century responses to this phase in Japanese history in the form of the development of the fields of history and archaeology, as well as site preservation and reconstruction efforts.