Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)Waseda University


SANO, Katsuhiro


SANO, Katsuhiro


Ph.D. University of Cologne


Associate Professor


Research Topic

Human evolution and advances in hunting technology

I am investigating temporal advances in technology and function of prehistoric stone tools and the relationship with human evolution to better understand the distinctive abilities of Homo sapiens. Currently, I am focusing on the emergence of the complex projectile technology using spearthrowers and bows-and-arrows and try to detect the origin and dispersal process of the complex projectile technology.

Education and Academic Employment

2010 Ph.D. in Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne
2010 – 2013 Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology, Tohoku University
2013 – 2017 Assistant Professor, The University Museum, The University of Tokyo
2017 – Associate Professor, Waseda Institute of Advanced Study, Waseda University

Fields of Research Interests

Human evolution, Lithic function, Hunting weaponry, Projectile technology, Experimental archaeology

Academic Publications
  1. Kondo, Y., Sano, K., Omori, T., Abe-Ouchi, A., Chan, W.-L., Kadowaki, S., Naganuma, M., O’ishi, R., Oguchi, T., Nishiaki, Y., and Yoneda, M. 2018. Ecological niche and least-cost path analyses to estimate optimal migration routes of Initial Upper Palaeolithic populations to Eurasia. In Nishiaki, Y., and Akazawa, T. (Eds.), The Middle and Upper Paleolithic Archeology of the Levant and Beyond. Springer, Singapore, pp. 199–212. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-6826-3_13
  2. Suwa, G., Beyene, Y., Sano, K., and Asfaw, B. 2017. The Early Acheulean – Konso, Ethiopia, The University of Tokyo Press: Tokyo, 120p (http://www.utp.or.jp/book/b313613.html).
  3. Sano, K. 2016. Evidence for the use of the bow-and-arrow technology by the first modern humans in the Japanese islands. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 10: 130–141. doi: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.09.007
  4. Fujita, M., Yamasaki, S., Katagiri, C., Oshiro, I., Sano, K., Kurozumi, T., Sugawara, H., Kunikita, D., Matsuzaki, H., Kano, A., Okumura, T., Sone, T., Fujita, H., Kobayashi, S., Naruse, T., Kondo, M., Matsu’ura, S., Suwa, G., Kaifu, Y. 2016. Advanced maritime adaptation in the western Pacific coastal region extends back to 35,000–30,000 years before present. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113: 11184–11189. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1607857113
  5. Iovita, R. and Sano, K. (Eds.) 2016. Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Stone Age Weaponry, Dordrecht: Springer, 303p. http://www.springer.com/la/book/9789401776011
  6. Katoh, S., Beyene, Y., Itaya, T., Hyodo, H., Hyodo, M., Yagi, K., Gouzu, C., WoldeGabriel, G., Hart, W.K., Ambrose, S.H., Nakaya, H., Bernor, R.L., Boisserie, J.-R., BIBI, F., Saegusa, H., Sasaki, T., Sano, K., Asfaw, B., and Suwa, G. 2016. New geological and palaeontological age constraint for the gorilla–human lineage split. Nature 530: 215–218. doi:10.1038/nature16510
  7. Beyene, Y., Asfaw, B., Sano, K., and Suwa, G. (Eds.) 2015. Konso-Gardula Project Volume 2. Archaeological Collection: Background and the Early Acheulean Assemblages, Tokyo: The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, Bulletin No. 48, 178p. http://umdb.um.u-tokyo.ac.jp/DKankoub/Bulletin/index.html
  8. Sano, K., and Oba, M. 2015. Backed point experiments for identifying mechanically-delivered armatures. Journal of Archaeological Science 63: 12-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2015.08.005
  9. Suwa, G., Beyene, Y., Nakaya, H., Bernor, R.L., Boisserie, J.-R., Bibi, F., Ambrose, S.H., Sano, K., Katoh, S., and Asfaw, B. 2015. Newly discovered cercopithecid, equid and other mammalian fossils from the Chorora Formation, Ethiopia. Anthropological Science 123: 19–39. doi: 10.1537/ase.150206
  10. Sano, K., and Oba, M. 2014. Projectile experimentation for identifying hunting methods with replicas of Upper Palaeolithic weaponry from Japan. In J. Marreiros, N. Bicho, and J.F. Gibaja (Eds.) International Conference on Use-Wear Analysis: Use-Wear 2012, pp. 474-486, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  11. Sano, K., Hyewon, H., Siyi, Z., Kanomata, Y., Akoshima, K., and Yanagida, T. 2013. Study on impact fractures observed on backed knives from the Takayrayama site, Yamagata. Bulletin of the Tohoku University Museum 12: 45-76.
  12. Sano, K. 2012. Functional Variability in the Late Upper Palaeolithic of North-Western Europe: A Traceological Approach. Universitätsforschungen zur Prähistorischen Archäologie. Bonn: Verlag Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, 243p. http://www.habelt.de/index.php?id=5
  13. Sano, K. 2012. Functional variability in the Magdalenian of north-western Europe: A lithic microwear analysis of the Gönnersdorf K-II assemblage, Quaternary International 272-273: 264-274. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2012.02.057
  14. Sano, K. 2012. Funktionsanalyse an Steinartefakten von Rietberg und Salzkotten-Thüle. In J. Richter (Ed.) Rietberg und Salzkotten-Thüle. Anfang und Ende der Federmessergruppen in Westfalen. Kölner Studien zur Prähistorischen Archäologie Band 2, pp. 283-294, Rahden/Westf.: Verlag Marie Leidorf.
  15. Sano, K., A. Maier, and S. M. Heidenreich. 2011. Bois Laiterie revisited: Functional, morphological and technological analysis of Glacial hunting camp in north-western Europe. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 1468-1484. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2011.02.010
  16. Sano, K. 2011. Lithic functional analysis. In E. Rensink (Ed.) Eyserheide. A Magdalenian open-air site in the loess area of the Netherlands and its archaeological context. Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 42, pp. 113-125, Leiden: Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University.
  17. Sano, K. 2010. Mobility and lithic economy in the Terminal Pleistocene of Central Honshu. Asian Perspectives 49(2): 279-293. doi: 10.1353/asi.2010.0015
  18. Sano, K. 2009. Hunting evidence from stone artefacts from the Magdalenian cave site Bois Laiterie, Belgium: a fracture analysis. Quartär 56: 67-86. doi: 10.7485/QU56_03
Other Interests

Hot spring

Affiliated Academic Organizations

International Union of the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences
European Society for the study of Human Evolution
Association of Archaeological Wear & Residue Analysis
Japanese Palaeolithic Research Association
The Japanese Archaeological Association
The Anthropological Society of Nippon
Japan Association for Quaternary Research


Incentive award, Japanese Palaeolithic Research Association

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