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The way to utilize archaeological artifacts: visit to the Komatsu City Archaeological Research Center



In addition to classroom lectures and seminars, students of Cultural Resource Studies (CRS) program have opportunities to gain real experience in the fields, called internship. On April 21st, 2015, we visited Komatsu City Archaeological Research Center (Komatsu-shi Maibun) as one or our internship activities.


The center, located in the eastern suburb of Komatsu city of Ishikawa prefecture, has a duty to do research, preserve and promote of archaeological sites and materials discovered in Komatsu city. Two collections of this center, which are artifacts found at the Yokkaichi Jikata site and those of the Yatano Ejiri kofun tumulus, are particularly important, designated as important cultural assets of Japan.


The center has two main areas for visitors: an exhibition room and an experience-based leaning room. In addition, visitors who booked beforehand can visit a working room and a laboratory for archaeologists. Thus, visitors can learn archaeology and history of Komatsu city, have a close look at the careful work of archaeologists, and participate in experiencing ancient techniques. I had a very interesting time with deep experience, during our four hours’ visit there.


Exhibition room


An exhibition hall will take visitors directly to the world of archaeological artifacts of different periods. A large number of artifacts discovered at the Youkaichi Jikata site which located east of the Komatsu railway station were exhibited. The collection includes many wooden artifacts used for agriculture, wooden fish and bird statues painted red and black, stone artifacts showing the process of manufacturing cylindrical beads, and so on. It is an important collection on which we can explore the lives of people in the middle Yayoi period. Among the uncovered artifacts of the Youkaichi Jikata site, a collection of 1020 artifacts were designated as the important cultural asset in 2011.


Another important collection consists of Haniwa figurines excavated from the Yatano Ejiri kofun. Through the Haniwa, we can understand a part of religious beliefs and rituals carried out during the Kofun period. It was designated as the important cultural asset in 1997.


Laboratory work of archaeologists


In my country, Vietnam, although people can easily have access to the exhibition hall of a museum, it would be difficult for you to see the laboratory work of archaeologists. So, when I saw the work of archaeologists at the second floor of the Komatsu-shi Maibun, I felt very excited. When we entered the working room, some people were piecing together the fragments of broken pottery, while others were measuring and drawing archaeological artifacts.


I think, the opportunity that visitors can enter the working room or laboratory to have a close look of archaeologists is one of the most effective ways to attract people to archaeological museum. From my point of view, lots of museums in Japan are successful in doing so, but in comparison, museums in my country still focus on their exhibition halls and are only interested in exhibiting artifacts.



Experiencing ancient techniques


At the end of our activity in the Komatsu-shi Maibun, we participated in creating Kumihimo (Japanese form of braid-making), following the ancient technology.  All professors and students had chance to braid Kumihimo with vibrant threads, which brought to us high enthusiastic moments. In addition, we also learned the ancient way to make fire.




Thanks to this internship, I learned a lot about how to utilize archaeological artifacts in order to attract visitors. This will be a valuable lesson for me to reconsider museums in Vietnam; their exhibited and stored archaeological materials can be utilized more.       (N. H. M.)








Koatsu-shi Maibun Front View
Komatsu-shi Maibun Kumihimo