Archaeology - Prehistory - Speleology

Nold Egenter


Reconstructions regarding spatial, aesthetic and metaphysical
aspects of Ainuculture in the North of Japan

>Scientific Publications of the Neanderthal Museum, vol. 3;
2003, Mettmann, Germany<


The primary task of the relatively new research domain ‘Anthropology of Habitat and Achitecture’ is to clarify the evolutionary hominoid and hominid processes of what we describe as architecture and habitat in the framework of cultural history and anthropology. Methodologically basic is a new anthropological definition of architecture (Egenter 1992) and structural history (ethno-pre-historical method) propagated by Wernhart (1981). It parallels history of dated finds and sources with an interest strongly focussed on processual continuities. In close relation to this methodo-logical extension a recent study suggested to define material culture anthropologically (Egenter 2001). This research as a whole focusses on two goals. On one hand it questions the present, merely aesthetically founded ‘architectural theories’ of the art historians (Krufft, Germann) and the disastrous impacts of these theories on the modern and post-modern urban environments (Kaehler). On the other hand it wants to introduce architecture, which has hardly been researched scientifically, into the discussions of cultural anthropology (Egenter 1992). The efforts are supported by the conviction that the new parameters shed new light on the relation between man and architecture thus providing new impulses also to cultural research. Human space and its demarcation by constructive behaviour seem to be basic viewpoints in regard to cultural anthropology. The following study presents an example of this work, the reconstruction of the spatial organisation of the Ainu, a collectors’ and hunters’ society that had been living until recently in the North of Japan, on Hokkaido, in Southern Sakhalin and on the Kuril islands. Basic is the description of a new ethno-pre-historic method of spatial analysis developed by recent architectural reseach which may be used in the analysis of archaeologically documented settlements or caves.