Photographs from the 1956-1957 Seasons of Japanese Archaeological Investigations in the Levant

This database contains photographs taken in the Levant countries/regions (Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Recorded in Palestine) during the field campaign by the Tokyo University Iraq-Iran Expedition held from September 1956 to August 1957. It is a companion edition to the photographic databases of archaeological sites in Syria (2017), Iraq (2021), and Iran (2022) that have already been released.

The research team of 1956-1957 carried out a wide range of archaeological surveys in various parts of the Near and Middle East while focusing on excavations of Telul eth-Thalathat in Iraq. The primary aim was to collect original information about archaeological sites and their environmental settings to the fullest extent to establish a basis for West Asia archaeology in Japan. Countries and regions of the Levant were visited mainly during the rainy season, December 1956 to March 1957, when the excavations in Iraq were suspended. The photographs captured the details of their archaeological research and showed the rapidly changing traditional ways of life in the Near East. They also contain irreplaceable records of more than half a century ago of nature and cultural heritage that had been since destroyed due to various reasons. In addition, they indicate what Japanese scholars at that time found of interest in the Near East world, which is a rare material that contributes to understanding the research history of West Asian archaeology in Japan.

This database, together with the already published material, can be widely used by those interested in archeology, history, cultural heritage, ethnology, and other related disciplines of West Asia. It is to be noted that the Levant region includes disputed borders. The countries and regions listed in the database are based on the records of the survey team in 1957. Financial support for producing this database was obtained from a grant from the Japan Society of Promotion of Sciences (22HP8007).

July 2023
Yoshihiro Nishiaki
The University Museum, The University of Tokyo