The Center for Research of Ancient Culture, set up by Nara Women's University on June 24, 2005 in the ancient capital of Nara, supports research into Japan's past across diverse fields of the study of East Asia. The Center currently manages research on the specific features of ancient Japan, involving researchers from a wide variety of academic disciplines including history, archeology, geography, linguistics and literary studies, as well as the physical sciences. Our goal is to develop interdisciplinary research beyond the framework of existing academic studies. We coordinate such innovative research as: protein analysis of unearthed artifacts to produce a new understanding of premodern manufacturing technologies and use of animal products. The results of our various research projects are presented at regular symposia.
The Center was founded as part of a 5-year program in association with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's 21st Century Centers of Excellence Program. The association ended in 2009, and we have gone on to increase the scope of our programs following that success. Our main programs include the Conference for Research on Ancient Capital Systems, focusing on in-depth examination of ancient East Asian capital cities, and the Young Researcher Outreach Program, which is primarily aimed at graduate students and young professional scholars of Japanese literature and linguistics. We hold annual events for each program. We also provide a "Nara Basin Historical Geography Database" using GIS (geographical information system) technology, which is accessible via our webpage.
In addition to our other events, the Center holds conferences on the first Wednesday of every month. We produce two annual publications: Kodaigaku (Ancient Studies), a journal of research conducted by scholars affiliated with the Center, and Tojosei Kenkyu (Research on Ancient Capital Systems), which is specifically concerned with our Conference for Research on Ancient Capital Systems initiative. Our homepage also features an online Newsletter with information on all of our events.
In order to better fulfill our mission, the Center also includes scholars from the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, the Nara National Museum, the Office of the Shosoin Treasure House, the Archeological Institute of Kashihara and the Gangoji Institute for Research of Cultural Property. We are also grateful for support and cooperation from researchers outside Japan.