Iron Grinding Technology in the Kofun Period: New Evidence and Research Techniques

Author(s): James Lyons

Year: 2015


Due to both a lack of direct evidence and lack of well-defined investigative methods, iron polishing and grinding technologies in the prehistoric Japanese archipelago remain poorly understood. Following the recent foundational research by Lyons, Kawano, and Suzuki, this project seeks to clarify the tools and gestures used to finish iron objects during the Kofun period. Photogrammetric techniques and 3D laser scanning were used to record and analyze striations left by original grinding on iron objects unearthed from Omuro Tsumi-ishi Kofun 165 and Marozuka Kofun in comparison to measurements similarly collected from bronze objects from Omuro Tsumi-ishi Kofun 200, Nukudani Minamizuka Kofun and a recently polished 6th century sword of unknown provenance. Based on these analyses, the use of metal files as well as multiple grinding stones of differing grit is postulated in the manufacture of a single object. Additionally, these analyses find elements of continuity in technique with extant traditional polishing practices in Japan.

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Iron Grinding Technology in the Kofun Period: New Evidence and Research Techniques. James Lyons. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397987)

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Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;