Burial practices and social complexity: Jomon examples


  • Takamune Kawashima Department of Asian and African studies, University of Ljubljana




Jomon, burial system, collective burial, social change, social complexity


Many archaeologists investigated the burial practices of the Jomon in order to clarify emerging social complexity, especially in the 1950s. Recently, since the social complexity of the Jomon became an important issue, burial practice has been recognised as an indicator of a hereditary ranking system. As I have noted elsewhere, there is no clear evidence that a hereditary ranking system existed in Jomon society. However, instead of searching for hereditary ranking in the Jomon, burial practices could be analysed from another aspect. The temporal and regional distribution of Jomon burial practices has been clarified. In the Kanto district, communal graves appeared in the early Late Jomon. This type of burial has been discovered only in this area. In the same period, some burial practices also appeared in other areas of Eastern Japan. Although this change from Middle to Late Jomon has been recognised, it has not been investigated from the perspective of social complexity. In this paper, I will try to examine the change in burial practices from the Middle to the Late Jomon in terms of social complexity.


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31. 12. 2011




How to Cite

Kawashima, T. (2011). Burial practices and social complexity: Jomon examples. Documenta Praehistorica, 38, 109-118. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.38.9