SAITO Tsutomu
National Museum of Japanese History
By analyzing lead isotope ratios of bronze objects, we found that Kochosen, or the ancient government-issued 12 kinds of bronze coins, included raw materials from the Naganobori Copper Mine in Yamaguchi Prefecture, etc. and that the start of using Japan-produced raw materials might go as far back as the end of the sixth to the early seventh centuries from the perspective of natural science. At present, we have been conducting research, together with South Korean institutes, on the period of domestic production of bronze objects in the Korean Peninsula.

In this project, we will compare lead isotope ratios of South Korean mines that were recently made accessible to the public with regard to bronze artifacts that had been excavated in various parts and clarify the relationship between products and raw materials. From the perspectives of both archeology and natural science, we will furthermore endeavor to elucidate the actual state of interchanges of people and goods in the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and wider regions of Northeast Asia.