How Was Iron Weaponry Obtained by Local Elite during Japan’s Kofun Period?

Author(s): Joseph Ryan

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The Kofun period of Japan, stretching from the mid-3rd century to the late-6th century AD, witnessed the formation of an almost archipelago-wide sociopolitical consolidation centered on the paramount elites of the Nara Basin. Considered by many scholars to have been an early state, this Yamato polity exercised unprecedented control over the production, importation, and distribution of prestige goods, which were bestowed on participating elites. Iron weapons, which displayed a significant increase in burials from this time, are also considered by many scholars to have been distributed, if not produced, by the central Yamato polity. While the case can convincingly be made that the majority of bronze mirrors imported from China and various other ritualistic items were indeed distributed out from the Yamato polity, little research has been carried out on the iron weapons, themselves. In this presentation, the author analyzes the iron weapons buried in the mounded tombs of the Kibi region (present Okayama prefecture) in order to understand how iron weaponry was obtained by local elites during Japan’s Kofun period.

Cite this Record

How Was Iron Weaponry Obtained by Local Elite during Japan’s Kofun Period?. Joseph Ryan. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449591)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: 70.4; min lat: 17.141 ; max long: 146.514; max lat: 53.956 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25538