UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Wealth and power in Yayoi Period Northern Kyushu Stark, Ken


This thesis is concerned with the analysis of grave goods, from Yayoi period cemetery sites in northern Kyushu, to test for the presence of status rivalry and competition between leaders of different . communities. The study consists of a test of two major hypotheses that were derived from a model that links economic and political success of chiefs with wealth display and the mortuary ritual. Hypothesis 1 stated that status rivalry was present in the development of social ranking within communities in northern Kyushu. The key pattern in this case is that change in political authority is indicated by change in patterns of wealth distribution and display. Since there was a trend toward a lack of change in the number of separate wealth rank levels among burials, meaning a lack of change in patterns of wealth distribution, the analysis results disproved Hypothesis 1. Hypothesis 2 stated that status rivalry and competition ensured short-term political success and fluctuations in patterns of wealth distribution between sites in a regional exchange hierarchy. As a result, major structural changes occurred in the organization of the existing wealth exchange network. Since the analysis revealed that regions with the most developed hierarchy experienced the greatest upheaval and change in organizational structure, Hypothesis 2 was not disproven. Overall, the results show that structural change in wealth exchange systems occurred on a regional scale more than change in internal rank ordering and wealth control within sites. If wealth possession was an indicator of power, political control in Yayoi period northern Kyushu was of a very precarious nature.

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