Society for East Asian Archaeology


The Society for East Asian Archaeology was founded in April 1996. It replaced the East Asian Archaeology Network (EAAN) which was founded by Gina L. Barnes of England. Gina L. Barnes of England served as the president of the new Society from 1996 to 2002, and was succeeded by Sarah M. Nelson of Denver, USA, from 2000-2004. Now Fumiko Ikawa-Smith is serving as the third president of the society until 2012.

Societies Main Objectives

The (SEAA) considers East Asia as China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Siberia, and Southeast Asia.

The SEAA main platform is dedicated to communicating the activities of the Society for East Asian Archaeology. The association’s objectives are promoting interest and research in the field of East Asian archaeology through offer information on ongoing archaeology projects. Also encourages the highest quality of research and communications. The SEAA provides publishing opportunities through a newsletter and journal. It also holds academic meetings and conferences that offers educational outreach to the general public. The SEAA also tries to break language barriers by offering their journal in a translation in a number of Asian languages. It also promotes good relations among the archaeologists who study within East Asia. The interests of the society members range from the earliest evidence of human presence in the Asian areas, also the development of ancient civilizations, to farming communities of the recent past.

SEAA Constitution

The SEAA has guidelines that one must follow to be a member of the society. The society is to be made up of professionals in the field, but non professionals also welcome. Those who are members share an interest in the field of archaeology in The SEAA also makes clear that it considers East Asia to be China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Siberia, and Southeast Asia. The SEAA has a four member executive board which includes President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Their job is to act as the primary decision making body of the society. For one to remain a member of the SEAA society they must keep up with their payments including, membership dues, conference fees, and institutional subscription fees.

Current Main Officers of the (SEAA)

President: Fumiko Ikawa-Smith recently retired from McGill University in the anthropology department. McGill University is located in Montreal, Quebec. She received her Ph.D. in 1974 from Harvard University. Her interests are Archaeology, Paleolithic, food and nutrition, complex hunter-gatherers, gender in prehistory, social contexts of archaeology in East Asia, with an emphasis in Japan. (McGill University 2008)

Vice-President: Yangjin Pak is an archaeologist and Professor in the department of archaeology at Chungnam National University in Daejeon, South Korea. Pak received his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1992 and 1996, from Harvard University. At Harvard, Yangjin Pak was one of the last graduate students of Professor Kwang-chih Chang. (UCLA 2008)

Secretary: Gwen P. Bennett, is currently a assistant professor of Asian Archaeology and Art History at Washington University in St. Louis. The work she conducts explores the social interactions in Neolithic era and the early Bronze Age period. (UCLA 2008)

Treasurer: Gina L. Barnes, is a professor at Durham University she works in the East Asian studies department. She received her Ph .D. in 1983 from University of Michigan Ann Harbor. Her areas of main interest are archaeology of East Asia, Japan, Korea, and rice production. (University of Durham 1997)

Besides the main board members there a number of people who are members of the SEAA. There are a number of Europeans and Americans who have shown a great interest into the field of East Asian Archaeology they have dedicated their own personal careers to it. There are also many Asian Americans who also have an interest in East Asian archaeology they receive a better understanding and knowledge of their own personal history, heritage, and culture. Others outside the Western influence also have shown an interest in the field of Eastern Asia archaeology.

The Journal of East Asian Archaeology (JEAA)

The SEAA has its own journal for archaeology name The Journal of East Asian Archaeology (JEAA). It has published peer reviewed works on archaeology work done in East Asia. The JEAA also offers bibliographic surveys, research aids, interim reports and progress on fieldwork projects. According to the SEAA the journal is published by Brill Academic Publishers of Leiden, The Netherlands, with the cooperation of the Society for East Asian Archaeology. The editors are Lothar von Falkenhausen (University of California) and Robert E. Murowchick (Boston University). JEAA is an international scholarly journal, directed towards academics and students, with its contents aimed at being of immediate relevance to practitioners in various subfields of East Asian Studies. The journal aims for archaeology in East Asia field will not remain so country or region specific and broad to more areas of Asia. Articles printed in the JEAA are written in English, but also have Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters translation. The JEAA tries hard to have those outside the Asian Studies community to study their anthropological and archaeological works. They hope that Western societies will show more interest so those with the highest level of talent will be involved in the SEAA fieldwork.

Main SEAA Conference

SEAA will hold its own worldwide conference in 2012 in Kyushu, Japan. These worldwide conferences are held every four years.

Other Yearly Conferences for 2009

Collectors, Collections and Collecting the Arts of China: Histories and Challenges
The Auditorium of the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, The University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Association for Asian Studies (AAS)
Annual Meeting, Sheraton, Chicago

Society for American Archaeology (SAA)
74th Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia

Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG)
Conference, Stanford University, Palo Alto CA

Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology
43rd Annual Meeting, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan

Pacific Island Archaeology in the 21st Century: Relevance and Engagement
Location: Palau

American Anthropological Association (AAA)
Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia Marriott

Society for American Archaeology (SAA)
75th Annual Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri

Association for Asian Studies (AAS)
Annual Meeting, Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia

American Anthropological Association (AAA)
Annual Meeting, Marriott New Orleans & Sheraton New Orleans, New Orleans, LA

Society for American Archaeology (SAA)
76th Annual Meeting, Sacramento, California

SEAA Book Publications for 2008- 2009

Habu, Junko; Fawcett, Clare; Matsunaga, John M. (eds.): Beyond Nationalist, Colonialist, Imperialist Archaeologies. Heidelberg Springer 2008.

The book discusses a number of cases that range in location from Asia, Europe, and North America. It tries to examine how contemporary interactions in society effect the archaeology process. The main focus and question asked is on the idea of archaeology multivocality, which is an idea that stemmed from postmodern theory. According to the authors the concept of multivocality gives a voice to those who are underrepresented which provides new angles to study the past.

Nelson, Sarah Milledge: Shamanism and the Origins of States: Spirit, Power, and Gender in East Asia. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press Inc 2008

Nelson sees the shaman as the driving force in Asian society and in Asian culture. She thinks that it was shaman who helped create the societies that exist today in Asia. Another interesting fact she mentions is that in Eastern Asia women were more likely to be shamans than men were and they used their spiritual powers to gain leadership roles.

Sanchez-Mazas, Alicia, Roger Blench, Malcolm D. Ross, Ilia Peiros, Marie Lin (eds.): Past Human Migrations in East Asia: Matching Archaeology, Linguistics and Genetics. Routledge Studies in the Early History of Asia: Routledge 2008

The books main discussion is the study of being able to study the movement of migration through archaeology. It examines the people of East Asia in a historical manner and also uses the latest technologies available to those in the archaeology field. There is also an emphasis on those who are closely studied there is a great amount of attention put on minority groups.

Shelach, Gideon: Prehistoric Societies on the Northern Frontiers of China. Archaeological Perspectives on Identity Formation and Economic Change during the First Millennium BCE. London: Equinox Publishing 2008.

The books main focus is in the time period of the first and second millennium BCE its regional location of research is the northern border of China. It is an area of much research because of the nomadic activities that took place in the region. In particular the fieldwork takes in Inner Mongolia during the period of evaluation there was a conflict emerging between Chinese states which caused a border to define the two groups of people and for them to be seen as separate.

Wagner, Donald B.: Science and Civilization in China. Volume 5, Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 11, Ferrous Metallurgy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2008.

Wagner gives a historical account to the use and production of iron and steel in China. The iron and steel industry had a large effect on politics and economic in China. The type of large scale manufacturing that was invented in south China left china taking a much different path to modernization than the Western European nations.

All information and book abstracts on published books came from the SEAA web page under new books.


Yayoi Period Dating

One of SEAA main controversies is the accurate dating of Yayoi period. In 2003 it was discussed that some of the pottery found on archaeology excavation had other dateable remains inside the pottery. (Shoda, 2007) Once the remains were dated they were 500 years older than what the original dating of the Yayoi period was. Some seemed to accept the new dating method while others rejected it and criticized it quite harshly. Those that were against the new dating methods were those who worked so hard to have the original dated time period, which has been used now for over fifty years. (Shoda, 2007) Another criticism of the new dates of Yayoi period was how the remains were tested there is a current argument going on whether C14 dating is superior over archaeological methods of typological cross dating. (Shoda, 2007) This argument is still very much alive still today and a popular discussion page on the SEAA web page.


UCLA Institute of Archaeology. 2008. Web Page.

UCLA Center of Chinese Studies. 2008. Web Article.

University of Durham. 1997. Web Article.

Journal of East Asian Archaeology. 2009. Web Page.
New Western Language Books on East Asian Archaeology 2008-2009. 2009. Web Article.
Shoda, Shinya. Bulletin of the Society of East Asian Archaeology. “A Comment on the Yayoi Period Dating Controversy.” 2007. Web Article.

The Society East Asian Archaeology. 2009. Web Page.