Dig Dogs — The Archaeology of Dogs in Japan: Talk by Prof Simon Kaner

犬と考古学

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Dogs are indeed humankind’s oldest best friends and have received preferential treatment since ancient times. Track the long relationship that dogs have enjoyed with the people of Japan while examining archaeological finds in this talk by Professor Simon Kaner, Executive Director of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, and Head of the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage and Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia.

Encultured, named and anthropomorphised, dogs embody loyalty, friendship and skill – especially in the hunt. Starting with the newly re-investigated earliest known burials of dogs from a prehistoric rock shelter in rural Shikoku, itself a remarkable early example of ‘architecture for dogs’, we will follow the trail of ancient DNA to track down doggy ancestors through the ages, sniffing our way down anthropological and archaeological paths, stopping to check out a range of canine connections, and chasing after some world-famous dog archaeologists themselves, as we explore how dogs have helped make us human

The live online talk will be followed by a Q&A during which there will be an opportunity for guests to submit their own questions to the speaker.

This event is part of Japan House London’s Architecture for Dogs season which explores the relationship between dogs and humans. See the exhibition Architecture for Dogs in the Japan House Gallery until 10 January 2021.

About the Speaker

Professor Simon Kaner is Executive Director of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, where he is also Head of the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage, and Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia. He curated the exhibition The Power of Dogu at the British Museum, which to his lasting regret did not include the wonderful dog dogū from northern Honshu. His recent publications include An Illustrated Companion to Japanese Archaeology and The Archaeology of Medieval Towns: Case Studies from Japan and Europe, both available from Archaeopress of Oxford. One of his pandemic projects is the Online Jomon Matsuri.