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The centre of their life-world: the archaeology of experience at the Middle Yayoi cemetery of Tateiwa-Hotta, Japan

  • Koji Mizoguchi (a1)

Social analysis of cemeteries has traditionally viewed them as static images of social organisation. In this study of the Middle Yayoi jar-burial cemetery of Tateiwa-Hotta, however, the dynamic interrelationship between competing groups and successive generations can be discerned. Two initial burials proved to be foundational acts, followed by over 40 further burials spread over a series of generations. Differences in grave orientation and grave goods signalled the separate identities of the adjacent hamlets that came to bury their lineage leaders in this prominent location. Competition between lineages is indicated by externally acquired grave goods, including prestigious bronze mirrors from the Han commandery of Lelang in Korea, and by the varying styles of burial jar that illustrate and symbolise connections or alliances with other communities.

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