Welcome to the Japanese Society for West Asian Archaeology (JSWAA).

The Japanese Society for West Asian Archaeology was established in January 1997 in Tokyo by archaeologists working in the Middle and Near Eastern countries. It had been our desire to have a society based in Japan that specialized in this scholarly field. We have inherited the traditions of the archaeological studies in this area that were initially begun by the pioneers of this field as early as the 1950’s.

Our principal purpose is to promote archaeological research in western Asia, Egypt and adjoining areas by exchanging information and ideas among our members and also by presenting our messages to the public. We hold meetings, conferences and workshops and publish a journal, books, pamphlets and other material. Some of the information we create is opened or distributed to the public for free or with a charge. It is our great pleasure if our members and visitors can get the latest information about our Society’s current functions through this web site.

In order to further promote our functions, we have come up with some ideas to improve the activities of the society including those concerning the web page that is continually being updated. The use of the internet is one such attempt to introduce English articles, thus, bringing new results of the field research and excavation by Japanese archaeological teams working in the Middle and Near East.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you.

Statement on the Earthquake in Southern Turkey  (February 2023)

 The earthquake that struck the Kahramanmaraş province of the Republic of Turkey in the early hours of 6 February, caused extensive damage in both Turkey and neighboring Syria. We express our deepest condolences to those affected by the earthquake, and our heartfelt sympathy to friends and family of the victims of this awful disaster.

 We are at a loss for words at the sight of the damage to towns we have visited during our research in the affected region, and feel helpless when we think of the anxiety of the people suffering during this terrible disaster. As an organization made up of members who have been involved in research in southwest Asia for a considerable period of time, we sincerely hope that the affected areas will be returned to normalcy as soon as humanly possible, and consider it our duty to do whatever we can for society there to support those in need.

 At the moment, the most pressing priorities must be lifesaving and humanitarian assistance. Once it is appropriate, we would consider it an honor to work with relevant institutions and organizations to gather information on the damage caused to museums and cultural heritage, determine local needs, and explore effective ways to provide support.

 We hope that the healing light of spring will help those in need.

Yutaka Miyake
Society President, Japanese Society for West Asian Archaeology

International Syrian Congress on Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (December 2015)

You can download program and abstracts here.


A Statement on the Destruction and Illegal Exportation of Syria’s Cultural Heritage  (June 2014)

In March 2011, the influence of the ‘Arab Spring’, which had already significantly great impacted the Middle East and North Africa, reached Syria. Since then, the war has continued to plague for three years with no signs of resolution. The state of war is escalating day by day. A number of people are killed or forced to leave their home country every day. The people are exhausted by the never-ending this war and they confront many difficulties in their daily live. In addition to frequent looting and plundering, the war has also meant the destruction of cultural heritage, a symbol of peace. This has the potential to damage people’s sense of national and cultural identity. It is not an exaggeration to say that they are losing their mental pillar. Therefore, with anger, grief, and hope, the Japanese Society for West Asian Archaeology hereby issues a statement on the current situation of the cultural heritage in Syria to all of the groups involved in the war.

Syria has played an important role in world history in such aspects as human evolution, the origins of agriculture, the origins of urbanization, the origins of monotheism, dispersion of Hellenistic culture, the easternization of Roma, the birth of Christianity, the rise of Islam, and so on. Syria’s cultural heritage shows the historical footsteps of human beings. This heritage has been protected by a number of people to pass it to the future generations. The people of Syria have made great efforts to protect this heritage. However, over the last three years, vestiges of this heritage have been increasingly lost due to the destruction of war, looting and plundering and as the war intensifies, such destruction is only expected to increase.

Militants and groups involved in the Syrian war must understand the importance of Syrian cultural heritage in the world and learn to respect it. They should notice that they are losing their own identity by their acts of looting and destruction. They need to know that they are making an irreversible mistake that affects not only Syria but the rest of the world as well. Damages to the cultural heritage of Syria are arguably one of the greatest crises in this present human history. Cultural heritage is already under serious duress, and there is no telling when the war will end. Someone has to change the situation. If militants and groups involved in the war come to respect and recognise it as a resource for the future, perhaps they can learn to protect it.

It is important to remember that cultural heritage can play an important role in the reconstruction of Syria after the war ends and the political situation in Syria stabilises. Cultural heritage can be a symbol of the peace and provide Syria with a chance to recover its relationship with the world. However, cultural heritage sites in Syria are being destroyed by bombing and shell fire. In addition, systematic looting at archaeological sites by armed groups and plundering that targets historical monuments continue in some areas of Syria despite the efforts of specialists to prevent such destruction. These negative activities must be stopped as soon as possible. The Syrians’ grief must be beyond our imagination when they see this happening to their country and history.

Even in circumstances where food and fuels are not readily available, some specialists in Syria are making great efforts to protect its heritage and preserve it for the future generations. We hope that all of the groups involved in the war will protect their cultural heritage and strive not to lose their own identity.

Kiyohide SAITO
Society President, Japanese Society for West Asian Archaeology
All of the members of Japanese Society for West Asian Archaeology