Global Social Archaeology

This course is closed.

Course Overview

The course is comprised of three parts, each divided into five 15 to 20 minute-long lectures.

Part 1 will introduce you to archaeology, what it is about, why it is fun, why we do it in the ways we do, and what meanings it has in contemporary society. We will also trace the history of archaeology by studying important archaeological theoretical and methodological packages that emerged at different times, but many of them currently co-exist. We will also learn about different archaeologies conducted in different parts of the world and consider as to why those different ways of doing archaeology have come into being.

Part 2 will introduce you to the world of indigenous archaeologies. We will learn how the western world colonised the other parts of the globe, where today’s indigenous peoples lived, and how that resulted in tremendous human sufferings and inequality which still continue in the present day. We will learn how that injustice has become recognised and what attempts have been made to amend it in archaeology. We will also learn how indigenous peoples themselves are coming to terms with this negative legacy of human history through practicing archaeology in the way which is respectful of their traditional lifeways and their ancestors.

Part 3 will consider one of the core elements of social archaeology: moving back and forth between the past and the present, and, by drawing upon the outcomes of that practice, imagining about a better future. We will study the two lives lived by gigantic Kofun tumuli of Japan, and what meanings those monumental structures, their construction and repairment, and their existence had to the people who were involved in their construction, who saw them, who at times enjoyed them, and who were charged to beautify them. By studying those episodes in the ‘life-course’ of those monuments, we will consider the relationships between the past, the present, and the future, which will be constituted through our experience of the past. We will conclude the course with a conversation between myself and Professor Smith, which hopefully inspire your imagination as to how what we learnt in the course will be used for the creation of a better future.

Course Objectives

By the conclusion of the course, you should have obtained basic knowledge on the history of archaeology, various trends in world archeology, indigenous archaeology, and uses of the archaeological past in the present.

Course Plan

Week1 What is Archaeology, and why?
・What is archaeology?
・How to approach the past?
・How have archaeologies been done?
  -History of Archaeology (1)
・How have archaeologies been done?
  -History of Archaeology (2)
・How are archaeologies being done?
  -Arcaheologies from different parts of the world

Week2 Indigenous Archaeology
・What is indigenous archaeology?
・History of indigenous archaeology
・Indigenous knowledge systems
・Repatriation and indigenous cultural and intellectual property
・The practice of indigenous archaeology

Week3 Moving back and forth between the past and the present: practicing social archaeology
・What do we make sense of the Kofun tumuli?
・The gigantic Kofun tumuli as imperial mausolea
・Deconstructing the 'Imperial Mausolea discourse'
・Imagining different Kofun narratives
・Conversation: what can archaeologies do to contemporary society and the world

profile of Prof / Staff

Koji Mizoguchi
Hobbies: watching movies in movie theaters (no horror movies, please)
Motto: "communication must go on"
Education Level: Ph.D. (University of Cambridge, U.K., 1995)
Specialty: Social archaeology, mortuary archaeology
Books: Mizoguchi, K., 2013. The Archaeology of Japan: from the Earliest Rice Farming Villages to the Rise of the State. Cambridge University Press.

Messages to students: We are what we learn from the past. Knowing and thinking about the past through archaeology will expand your horizon, empower you, and enable you to create a better future.

Claire Smith
Hobbies: reading female detective novels.
Motto: the motto of my High School “all things to the best of my ability” - Omnia Sedulo
Final degree: PhD in archaeology, University of New England, 1996
Specialty: Indigenous, archaeology, rock art, gender, global archaeology
Books: Smith, C. (ed.) 2014. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. New York: Springer.

Messages to students: “Work hard and enjoy” “Ask us if you do not understand something” “Follow your passion, as that is the best route to high achievement"

Ari Tanizawa
Affiliation: Post-doctoral Fellow, Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies, Kyushu University
Theme: Archaeology. State formation and material culture.

Premise-type Knowledge

By the conclusion of the course, you should have obtained basic knowledge on the history of archaeology, various trends in world archeology, indigenous archaeology, and uses of the archaeological past in the present.


  1. Weekly multiple-choice questions for confirming tests.
  2. multiple-choice questions for the final test.

Completion requirements

Achieving 60% or above in the test which is comprised of multiple-choice questions.


Archaeology: the basics (2nd Edition)' by Clive Gamble (Routledge, 2007)