From Shibayama to Stonehenge

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From Shibayama to Stonehenge

October 8 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm


From Shibayama to Stonehenge: William Gowland – pioneer of archaeology in Japan and England

Lecture by Dr Simon Kaner FSA & Dr Luke Edgington-Brown FSA

William Gowland, former Vice President of the Society of Antiquaries, is perhaps most famous for his excavations at Stonehenge at the start of the 20th century. Between 1872 and 1888, working at the Osaka Mint, Gowland established his archaeological credentials through a series of surveys and investigations of over 400 mounded tombs in Japan as well as visiting sites in Korea. Of particular significance was his meticulous excavation of the now long destroyed Shibayama mounded tomb. He published his findings in Archaeologia, the then journal of the Society. Some of the Japanese sites he studied are included in those inscribed in July 2019 as UNESCO World Heritage. Gowland was acutely aware of the significance placed on many of these tombs by the newly re-established imperial authority in Japan and, over a century later, the inscription of the Mozu-Furuichi mounded tomb group on Osaka on the World Heritage List, notwithstanding their status as the final resting places of imperial ancestors, makes a reassessment of their history of study timely, in particular given the abdication the Heisei Emperor and the succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne of Naruhito, the Reiwa Emperor.

This talk will also review some of the findings of the Gowland Project, which has spent the last decade studying the unique archive of kofun-related artefacts and associated materials held by the British Museum, where they were deposited by Gowland on his return to the UK following his sojourn in Japan. We will also look forward to a new exhibition, Stonehenge and Japan, at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre from September 2020, which forms part of the UK-Japan Season of Culture, marking Japan hosting the Rugby World Cup in autumn 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.


Our Ordinary Meeting/Evening Lectures are Free for Fellows & their guests to attend but are £5 for non-Fellows. There are 20 places available at each lecture for non-fellows to book. 

Schedule for the evening detailed below: 

  • Refreshments are served from 4.20pm in the council room.

Please note that due to COVID 19 restrictions we are unsure if this event will be held at Burlington House or just live streamed. Moving forward all our lectures will be live streamed so booking is recommended to recieve the live stream link. 

  • Registration is essential.
  • Once you have registered we will be in touch regarding how you can join via Zoom video-calling.
  • The event will also be live-streamed to YouTube here, so you can watch along if you prefer
  • Places through zoom will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The event will begin at 17.00, British Summer Time.

Get tickets online


October 8
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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Society of Antiquaries of London
Burlington House, Piccadilly
London, W1J 0BE United Kingdom
020 7479 7080


Society of Antiquaries of London
020 7479 7080