The Archaeology of Religion and Ritual in the Prehistoric Japanese Archipelago

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This article reviews the evidence and interpretation of the development of ritual traditions in the prehistoric Japanese archipelago prior to the appearance of Buddhism in mid-sixth century ad. Key sites and materials are selected from the Jomon period (c.14,000 bc–c.500 bc), the Yayoi period (c.500 bc–ad 300), and the Kofun period (ad 300–710). While introducing a series of key sites, the article adopts a thematic approach to evidence for religious activity in the Japanese archipelago including: cosmology; the transformative qualities of ‘ritual’ material culture; evidence for ‘ritual specialists’; the existence of generative schema behind the diversity of ritual traditions; monumentality; the ritualization of the expression of human-animal relationships; and the ritual expression of transitions during the life cycles of individuals and communities
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)978-0199232444
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press

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