Please note that our September meeting is on Tuesday (not our usual Monday). Also, please remember that you may bring only bottled drinks (with caps), no food.
The Nagaoka Capital (784ĘC794 AD) and Inscribed Wooden Tablets
Based on a selected number of inscribed wooden tablets (mokkan ), this lecture addresses certain aspects of the Nagaoka capital's existence. The tablets afford a uniquely detailed view of Nagaoka, for which there was scarcely any evidence at all. Until the discovery of the first tablets in the 1970s, historians have had largely to base their reconstructions on the historical accounts and on the remains and artefacts yielded by excavations. Although this body of evidence is by no means negligible, it does contain immense gaps. Because the inscribed wooden tablets can be studied in two ways, either as artefacts or as literary sources, they bridge the gap between the historical records and the archaeological evidence and add an enormous, invaluable amount of depth and detail to both. Unlike the literary sources, the texts preserved on the tablets contain details concerning daily life and government business that were deemed too trivial to be worthy of inclusion in the chronicles. They also provide firsthand information that has not been edited to suit certain goals. As archaeological material, the wooden tablets often aid the researcher in identifying and dating the context in which they were found.
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