UBC Theses and Dissertations
Prehistoric settlement and production in the Nam River Valley, South Korea Bale, Martin T.
This study uses settlement, mortuary and house structure data from southeast Korea to examine the nature of society, production, economic centralization, and change in the Nam River area during the period 850 to 450 B.C. Actions of emerging leaders are thought to be a main factor behind the emergence of hierarchical settlement systems and economic centralization. To test whether there was group-based society and centrally located production in the study area, house floors, spatial distribution of settlements, stone tool and prestige object production, burials, and prestige objects are examined to uncover trends in the settlement system through time. Ditch-enclosures are expected to protect production and elite houses in the central part of the study area. Nam River society displays correlates matching group-based society such as a trend towards production in large houses, lack of centrally located production, and small-scale megalithic burials. Centralization of settlement, stone tool and jade production, burials, large houses with production and prestige artifacts, and ditch-enclosures did not occur. In Phase II (600 to 450 B.C.) social transformation towards greater elite involvement in production is shown by the development of multifunctional production zones in Ogbang and Sanch'ong, restriction of stone tool production based on structure size, a large increase of stone cist burials with prestige artifacts, jade production in relatively small "workshops", and the construction of ditches for protection. Ditch-enclosures are associated with the protection of elite houses rather than production areas. It is concluded that the Nam River settlement system reflects group-based models with weak elites, but incipient individualizing modes were beginning in the organization of multi functional production areas, defense, and increased use of prestige artifacts in burials.
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