Invited research

Call for Research Proposals
We invite research proposals for a two-year grant (2019-2020) related to this project. For the application procedure, please see the following website (in Japanese).

Urban society emerged for the first time in human history in ancient West Asia and formed a social structure in which the characteristics of each region were determined centralized around cities. The remains of the cities of West Asia provide voluminous data about the birth of urban culture and its transformation during ancient times, in the form of abundant archeological records and numerous cuneiform texts written on clay tablets. This project aims to study the process of the appearance of ancient cities, the development of their diverse landscapes and social structures, and interactive relationships between urban societies and the natural environment, and to clarify the essential aspects of ancient West Asian cities through interdisciplinary study linking archeology, philology, and the natural sciences. Furthermore, considering the question“What is a city?” by examining regions adjoining West Asia and West Asian cities in later ages, this project will clarify the uniqueness of ancient West Asian cities and their influence on later ages and present a theory of civilization that will be of use in achieving a sustainable future for modern urban civilization.

This project is comprised of four research projects—A01: First Signs of Urban Civilization, which conducts archaeological research of prehistoric period; A02: Landscape and Structure of Ancient West Asian Cities, which studies urban civilization in ancient West Asia and ancient Egypt through cooperation between philology and archaeology; B01: Environment and Resources of West Asia, which elucidates the interactions between cities and the environment in ancient West Asia from the perspectives of earth science and materials science; and C01: West Asian Cities from the Middle Period to the Modern Period, which examines medieval to modern and current West Asian cities through literature research and fieldwork. Also, X00: A Discourse on Urban Civilization in West Asia, which summarizes all the above research projects, becomes the hub for all research groups to collaborate, considering the interrelationships of cities, human societies, and their respective environments, and to construct a vision which contributes to a sustainable future of human society and the global environment.

We invite the following research projects to support the ideas of this project: (1) research that deals with various urban issues of regions and periods which are not included in the core of this project, (2) research which contributes to the strengthening of theory construction to consider cities, (3) natural science research which could reinforce research in the materials science field, and (4) practical study which contributes to the solving of modern urban issues.

Research THEme

Upper Limit of
Annual Budget

Number of research
projects scheduled
to be selected
  • A01: Research on urbanization in prehistoric West Asia and its surrounding regions

  • A02: Research on urbanization in ancient West Asia and its surrounding regions during early historic times (e.g., urban landscape, cultural tradition, social and political functions)

  • B01: Research on mineral deposits and the environment in West Asia and its surroundings, fluctuations in the Quaternary period, and geomorphic developments

  • C01: Medieval to Modern West Asian cities
    - Historical research on medieval to modern West Asia and its surrounding regions

    - Research on civilization in Islamic cities (e.g., urban spacial structures, social and cultural functions)

    - Comparative urban research (comparative urban planning history, comparative urban typology, urban theory, etc.)

    - Various urban issues (e.g., social and environmental issues of modern cities, management of historical cities, urban conservation and recovery, conservation of cultural heritage and cultural traditions.)




2 million YEN

1.5 million YEN

1.0 million YEN




8 projects

2 projects

6 projects

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