22 January, 2014

IPPA2014 Report (1): about sessions

I joined in the 20th Congress of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, IPPA), and conducted my presentation. My schedule was as the following.

January 15 (Wed) Moving to Cambodia

January 16 (Thu)
Morning: Presentation in #42 "Grinding stone(s): technology, function and distributions"
Afternoon: Joining in #39 "Understanding the Early Societies: Interpretation of Archaeological Data from Vietnam and Southeast Asia"

January 17 (Fri)
Morning: Joining in #20 "Beyond Subsistence: Food and Foodways in Indo-Pacific Archaeology"
Afternoon: Joining in #20 and #63 "General Session D"
Evening: Closing ceremony and conference dinner

January 18 (Sat)  Going to the Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, and the Angkor National Museum, and then the airport
January 19 (Sun) Going back to Japan

Session #42, which was held on 16th (Thu) and I conducted my presentation, focused on ground stone tools. Its organisers, Dr. Richard Fullagar and Dr. Li Liu are specialists of stone tools and starch residue analysis. So most of session members presented their results of starch studies.

This time, I presented "Human  Exploitation of Plant Food Resources in Prehistoric Japan: Evidence from Starch Granules on Ground Stone Tools", and reported my results of starch residue analyses during the last decade.

After my presentation, Dr. Fullagar and Dr. Liu, Ph.D. candidate Ebbe Hayes (one of session members and a student of Dr. Fullagar), Dr. Carol Lentfer (my starch fellow) suggested me that those results in Japanese archaeology were very interesting for other researchers, and that we have to present our works outside Japan actively.

In this session, members from many countries presented their results of starch residue analyses. The following summarises my impressions and opinions about their results.
  1. In Australia, Europe, and America, starch residue analysis is applied to each excavation as one of methods. So all of treatments of artefacts from excavations to their analyses can be recorded, and we can examine contaminated problems at each stage easily.
  2. Many researchers conduct taxonomic identification of starch granules based on their modern reference collections and morphological classifications. But their standards of identifications differ according to research groups such as Australian group and Chinese group. Do we need to share our identification standards for progressing starch studies to the next steps?
  3. Almost all of presentations showed which kind of starch granules were found from their case studies and which kind of plant species were used there. But they did not mention about any differences of starch granules according to stone tool categories. Differences or similarities of starch granules according to stone tool categories can indicate stone tool functions and can reconstruct plant utilizations in the sites. So this view point is truly needed in our researches.
Indeed, our research materials and results are totally different, and I don't think that studies outside Japan are ahead. But when I heard their reports, I cast new light on the future works of starch residue analysis, especially how to solve various difficult challenge we are facing right now.

One of my attending sessions, #20 "Beyond Subsistence: Food and Foodways in Indo-Pacific Archaeology" was a very global session. Its keywords were subsistence, food, and food ways and this session were separated into 7 sections: ethnoarchaeology, ceramics and food residues, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, human osteoarchaeology, and social archaeology.

All of topics were very interesting for me. I caught new results conducted in each field, and was stimulated by this session.
I hope this kind of global sessions will be conducted in the international conferences in Japan.

On 17th (Fri), after all of sessions, the closing ceremony and conference dinner were opened. During the dinner, some traditional Cambodian Khmer dance such as Apsara Dance were held, and I enjoyed my last night in Cambodia as well as my first Cambodian dishes.

Researchers from 40 countries approximately joined in this congress, and more than 30 Japanese archaeologists came there and presented their researches. I was able to discuss with many researchers including Japanese archaeologists who I rarely see in my usual days, and they provided me many advises to my works. 

That's about a report about my presentation and sessions. My next article shows Angkor archaeological sites and the national museum.

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