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The main activities of the center are focused on the following four themes: 1) support for overseas research, 2) documentation of historical sites and objects, 3) implementation of the West Asian civilization study group, 4) education program.

1) Support for overseas research
Our members conduct and support field projects in Iran, Turkey, Iraq and elsewhere as well as undertake collaborative research projects with research centers in Europe and the United States, in order to gather the latest academic information and technical know-how for survey/fieldwork implementation and sharing with affiliated researchers.

These projects include: survey of prehistoric sites in Iraq-Kurdistan, excavation of the Iron Age site of Yasin Tepe, archaeological fieldwork to study initial sedentism of Hasankeyf Hoyuk in south-eastern Anatolia, Turkey. In addition, we are currently involved in a project to decipher cuneiform text on clay tablets in cooperation with museums and special libraries in Europe and North America.

2) Documentation of historical sites and objects
In response to requests from local authorities the center undertakes research on the preservation of sites and historical resources at risk due to development plans. In Turkey, conservation and restoration work to prevent deterioration was undertaken on the building and murals of a rock cut church in Cappadocia. In addition, the center undertakes investigative research on Syrian cultural heritage damaged by the conflict, assesses the needs of local governments for support of cultural properties at risk, and discusses with cultural heritage administrators in each country potential assistance and future action. Site protection and rescue work was also carried out in support of the Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan.

3) West Asian Civilization Study Group
International symposiums and local workshops are organized on a regular basis. This provides an interdisciplinary setting for researchers working on the ancient civilization of West Asia from different fields of study, including human science, in particular archaeology, history and linguistics; environmental science mainly geology and ecology; and chemical science involving material analysis and conservation of cultural property. In addition, the center promotes the exchange of researchers through the invitation of foreign researchers to Japan and by supporting Japanese researchers visiting overseas.

4) Education Program
Field research education programs are organized for post graduate and undergraduate students through which the students are expected to acquire practical knowledge of fieldwork. In addition, students can participate in the workshops and symposiums where they can obtain feedback of their research from professional researchers. In addition, a general course; ‘Invitation to West Asian Civilization Studies’ is offered to all students of the University of Tsukuba.




The Research Center for West Asian Civilizations is administered by a group of core researchers with the following responsibilities:

Overall Direction (Principal Investigator): 
  Shigeo Yamada
1) Support for Overseas Research/Collaborative Research:
 Yutaka Miyake
2) Documentation of Historical Sites and Objects:
 Yoko Taniguchi
3) West Asian Civilization Study Group:
 Daisuke Shibata
4) Education Program:
 Akira Tsuneki

Research space has been set aside within the Project and Research Building at the University of Tsukuba to provide a base for research activities and to stimulate exchange among researchers. External evaluation committee members (one person from outside the University of Tsukuba and one person from overseas) have been appointed to evaluate the on-going progress of the center and its research activities, achievements and operational capabilities.