In March, a Japanese archaeological team visited the British Museum for its annual research on the Gowland Collection. The team, consisting of Professor Kazuo Ichinose (Kyoto Tachibana University), Professor Tetsuro Hishida (Kyoto Prefectural University) and Professor Shoji Morishita (Otemae University), had previously organised a workshop in 2012 supported by the British Museum and the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, after which they had continued and deepened their research based on the collection. The researchers reviewed and investigated a number of small pieces, a process which succeeded in filling gaps in their knowledge stemming from the limitations of the archeological records available in Japan.
The collection, while demonstrating the high standards and scientific methods of such research at the time, also gives a flavour of Gowland’s personality through his meticulous records of what he excavated, even the smallest pieces. While he was not strictly speaking an archaeologist, he was clearly not without some knowledge of the field at that time as his work bears the hallmark of contemporary European research standards. At any rate, his methods were quite accurate, as when his surveys are replicated today they show the same results. Having been invited as an advisor to the Mint, he explored Japanese mines in the course of his work and also visited dolmens and burial grounds on such occasions.