Mumun Period Households and the Rise of Inequality in Korea

Author(s): Rachel Lee

Year: 2015


In the Jinju area of South Korea, social inequality first emerged during the Mumun Period (1060 – 340 cal. B.C.), during which permanent agricultural villages were also established. Excavations in the last two decades have uncovered close to 15 of these settlements, but the process of emergent inequality during the Mumun Period is just beginning to be understood. This poster provides results from the first systematic study of households from the Jinju area that intersects this important period. By doing so, the research moves away from top-down, elite-driven approaches to inequality, instead positioning the household as an active participant in the development of complex societies. Through spatial analysis and micromorphology, I provide evidence for significant changes in household composition, activity, and ideology that occurred due to the loss of egalitarian lifeways. I contend that this, in turn, further contributed to the development of social inequality that would be foundational for the formation of the first Korean states in the subsequent Samhan or Proto-Three Kingdoms Period.

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Cite this Record

Mumun Period Households and the Rise of Inequality in Korea. Rachel Lee. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398284)

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Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;