Center for Korean Studies Colloquium Series

This event is free and open to the public. The Center for Korean Studies is located at 1881 East-West Road on the UH Mānoa campus. Paid parking is available mauka of the CKS building.

For further information, including arrangements for access for the handicapped, telephone 956-7041.

The Earliest Peopling of the Korean Peninsula: Current Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Christopher J. Bae
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Center for Korean Studies Auditorium
1881 East-West Road
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


The Earliest Peopling of Korea program is a multidisciplinary research consortium whose ultimate goal is to develop a deeper understanding of the nature and timing of the earliest peopling of the Korean peninsula. Current evidence suggests that the peopling of the Korean peninsula was not a one-time unidirectional event, but rather multiple migrations occurring from many different directions. The record indicates that the earliest peopling of the peninsula probably took place during the Middle Pleistocene (~800,000–120,000 years ago), with a small chance that the peopling may have occurred during the latter part of the Early Pleistocene (~1,000,000 years ago). Many hominin migrations likely occurred from the north through Mongolia and Siberia. However, during glacial periods sea levels usually fall tens of meters. During these glacial periods it might have been possible to walk across the Yellow Sea from mainland China from Shandong peninsula or even southern China. Many genetics studies suggest a southern China arrival point for modern humans, followed by a northward migration into regions like northern China and Korea. In this presentation, Prof. Bae will introduce some of the broader-ranging research questions his research team is trying to answer and the methodological approaches they are using to address them.

Photo: Christopher BaeDR. CHRISTOPHER J. BAE is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is broadly trained in paleoanthropology, earning his Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Some of the questions Bae is trying to answer range from the timing and nature of dispersals out of Africa and into eastern Asia and how modern humans evolved in eastern Asia (either through replacements of more archaic hominins by invading modern humans or through in situ evolution or some combination of both models). He has spent more than two decades conducting field and laboratory paleoanthropological research in eastern Asia, primarily in Korea, China, and Japan. Bae was awarded the University of Hawaii 2012 Board of Regents' Medal for Excellence in Research. His research in Korea is supported by a grant from the Academy of Korean Studies–Korean Studies Promotion Service (AKS-2010-DZZ-3102).