Congratulations to Dr. Christian Leipe on his recent article published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences! This is special news as it is Christian’s first paper as key author in a purely archaeological journal! Also congratulations to our other BAP team members who contributed as co-authors.

Title: Ritual practices and social organisation at the Middle Yayoi culture settlement site of Maenakanishi, eastern Japan

Authors: Leipe C, Kuramochi S, Wagner M, Tarasov PE.

Abstract: Combined archaeobotanical and archaeological data from Middle Yayoi (fourth century BCE–first century CE) cultural layers of the Maenakanishi site (36°08′55″ N, 139°24′08″ E) in northern Saitama Prefecture indicate that rice was less significant as everyday food, but played an important role in ritual practices and in strengthening social stratification at the studied settlement site. The results further suggest that the crop was used in feasting performed in context of pillared buildings that were often large and occupied a spatially separated central location within a settlement. We propose that these pillared buildings were residences of political/religious leaders, who directed these rituals related to agricultural production and worship of elite ancestors. Such ritual practices were likely introduced to Japan from continental East Asia as part of the ‘Yayoi package’ and conducted for empowerment and labour mobilisation.

Congratulations to Christian and co-authors!

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