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Kim M.,Chonnam National University | Ahn S.-M.,Wonkwang University | Jeong Y.,Naju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage
Economic Botany | Year: 2013

Rice (Oryza sativa L.): Seed-Size Comparison and Cultivation in Ancient Korea. The measurements of carbonized rice kernels from seventeen archaeological sites across Korea were compared to show a diachronic kernel-size change over the period of ca. 1500 BCE-600 CE. The assemblages that predated ca. 1 BCE consisted of short and narrow grains whereas those after ca. 1 CE consisted of long and plump grains. The observed pattern indicates the cultivation of new rice varieties in the later period, although it is not clearly understood whether the new varieties were introduced from elsewhere or whether they evolved locally. A sudden change in rice harvesting tools accompanied this change in rice kernel sizes. The semi-lunar stone knife, which reaps ripe rice ears individually, was replaced by the iron sickle, which cuts a bundle of rice stalks all at once. The changes in rice kernel-size and harvesting tools suggest that the short and narrow grains did not ripen in a synchronous manner and were selectively harvested in ears on multiple occasions over an expanded time span, whereas the long and plump grains ripened in a synchronous manner and were harvested in stalks over a shorter time span. The nearly concurrent appearance of large-grained rice in the Korean and Japanese sites indicates that the new varieties spread rapidly across the Far East Asia region. © 2013 The New York Botanical Garden.

Kim M.,Chonnam National University | Shin H.-N.,Honam Cultural Property Research Center | Kim J.,National Cultural Heritage Institute | Roh K.-J.,Korea Maritime Institute | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Anthropological Archaeology | Year: 2016

This article compares pottery assemblages from Pungnap Toseong (PT) and 16 adjacent settlements in order to understand the status-related foodways in the Hanseong phase (18 BCE–CE 475) of the Baekje Kingdom in Korea. PT is an earthen-walled site that may have been the first capital town of Baekje. Its residents were arguably of higher status than those of other settlements and, as with other complex societies, are likely to have used food and food-related activities for reinforcing, maintaining, and transforming social relations. The intersite comparison reveals that PT contains more ceramic wares than any other site, especially more storing and serving vessels; abundant storing vessels suggest surplus production mobilized toward the center, while abundant serving vessels are, along with zooarchaeological remains, indicative of rituals and feasts. Researchers have argued that Baekje's elites differentiated themselves from those of lower rank by consuming luxurious foods. This study adds another dimension to the previous discussion by showing that regardless of food quality, the people of PT had a large amount of stored foods and occasionally consumed foods in commensal contexts in order to maintain their social alliances and reinforce the hierarchy. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.

Kim M.,Chonnam National University | Shin H.-N.,Honam Cultural Property Research Center | Kim S.,Honam Cultural Property Research Center | Lim D.-J.,Jeollanam do Culture and Arts Foundation | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Anthropological Archaeology | Year: 2015

This article reviews published excavation reports of the Chulmun settlements in South Korea and explores the changes in demographic structure over the period of ca. 8000-1500. BC. The Chulmun people were sedentary hunter-gatherer-fishers with an intensified use of marine resources, food storage, and a low level of plant cultivation. Archaeological evidence for social differentiation is very scarce in this period and social relationships are assumed to have been egalitarian. In an attempt to explain the lack of articulated social differentiation, this study examines settlement patterns to reveal considerable temporal variation. The number of settlements increased dramatically in 4000-3000. BC, presumably under the influence of plant cultivation and/or an intensified use of wild resources, but then decreased in 3000-1500. BC. Even at the zenith of the hypothetical population growth, most settlements were small scale with only a few pit houses and archaeological evidence for large population aggregation, which would have promoted interpersonal interactions, is rare. The uninterrupted presence of shell middens shows that coastal resources continued to be exploited until the end of the Chulmun period, while some sites were newly established in small remote islands. The current investigation suggests that although population growth occurred at one point, a number of interrelated factors, including a low level of aggregation and the subsequent population decrease and/or relocation, acted against the institutionalization of social inequality in the Chulmun period. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

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