Journal of World Prehistory

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 275–308 | Cite as

Mortuary Variability and Status Differentiation in the Late Jomon of Hokkaido Based on the Analysis of Shuteibo (Communal Cemeteries)

Article

Abstract

The shuteibo, a type of communal cemetery characterized by a circular embankment, was constructed in the latter half of the Late Jomon (c. 1520 cal BC–1250 cal BC) in Hokkaido, Japan. Shuteibo at the Kiusu, Misawa-1, Bibi-4 and Kashiwagi-B sites are key to understanding the complex hunter-gatherer societies of the Late Jomon. Elite graves inside the shuteibo and non-elite graves outside them show clear differences in terms of grave goods, red ocher and grave markers at Kiusu-4. These communal cemeteries may have been created and maintained by elites who had access to highly valued materials, such as jadeite, through long-distance trade. Differences in the number of graves and grave goods among shuteibo at the Misawa-1 and Bibi-4 sites indicate differences in group size and intra-site elite differentiation. The Kiusu site has both the largest example and the largest concentration of these cemeteries in Hokkaido. At the inter-site level, differences in the size of these communal cemeteries indicate variability in the number of corporate groups as well as in relative power between sites.

Keywords

Jomon Complex hunter-gatherers Mortuary analysis Status differentiation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Brian Hayden, Richard Pearson, A. Catherine D’Andrea, Andrew Hickok, Ron Adams, Jesse Morin, Shaw Badenhorst, Mike Reid and Donna McGee Thompson for reading an early draft of this paper. The figures of this paper benefited greatly from the assistance of Shannon Wood. I also thank the following for their comments and suggestions: Akiyoshi Abe, Heather Robertson, Hideki Fujiwara, Hiroaki Hata, Hiroshi Fujii, Hisao Kato, Kaoru Kawarabayashi, Keiichi Kobayashi, Kenichi Kobayashi, Kenichiro Koshida, Kensho Ukai, Masahiro Fukuda, Masahiro Sasaki, Roy Carlson, Toru Tateishi, Toshiyuki Tamura, Tsuyoshi Sato, Yoshiya Shinagawa and Yukio Dodo. This paper was greatly improved by comments from anonymous reviewers and Timothy Taylor as well as editorial helps from Sarah Wright. Needless to mention, all shortcomings are my responsibility. This paper was originally submitted to the journal in 2008, and did not take into account results of articles and archaeological reports published between 2009 and 2011.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and PhilosophyNanzan UniversityNagoyaJapan

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