Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yoshinogari (3)

If you have thought that I finally came to an end with the archaeology part, you are wrong. But this is the last thing you will hear about Yoshinogari. On both sides of a road leading to the main tomb there were more than 2,000 burial jars:

In the tiny but excellent museum on the site you could see the real thing. Alltogether there were 15,000 burials in Yoshinogari. Not bad for a village that was alive for a mere 200 years.

Lets have a quick look inside and than you are done with all the boring archaeology (that is for today :) )


  1. were only the rich buried i.e. 10% of the village or had everybody the luck to be sandwiched in one of these cans?

    given are 200 years for 15000 coffins.

    you need 75 deaths per year and let's assume every 15 years a new generation came up wich goes along with one generation dying every 15 years. so we would only get a population of 1125 people.

    the thing now is (another asumption on my side) that the people living at that time had more than 2 kids because they died very quickly. lets say in there lifespan they had 6 children. then you only need a population of about 400 people to produce the 15000 corpses.

    what we did not take into our calculation is: 1. a growth of the village 2. any migration

    just my 2 cents

  2. That's a tough one, but I see you are right into population archaeology.
    1. In the beginning of the village life only the chiefs and their direct subordinates were buried. Then the merchants started to buried in jars, too. But the very poor farmers are not buried in jars. No traces of them are left.
    2. Don't forget that from the six children or mmore only two or three survived. Child burials are not common in the early Yayoi period except they were lucky enough and their mother died with them so they went into one jar toghether.
    3. A village with more than 1000 merchants, generals and noble-men is not bad I guess since the mass of the population was the anonymous farmers.