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Craft Production and Social Change in Mumun Pottery Period Korea

From: Asian Perspectives
Volume 45, Number 2, Fall 2006
pp. 159-187 | 10.1353/asi.2006.0019


This paper addresses the development of craft production in the Mumun Pottery Period (c. 1500 to 300 B.C.) of south-central Korea. Specialized craft production of greenstone ornaments, groundstone daggers, red-burnished pottery, and bronze objects was coeval with the onset of intensive agriculture. We examine the nature of this production in the settlement of Daepyeong, where social differentiation increased diachronically, notably in the Late Middle Mumun (700–550 B.C.). Specialized craft production appears to have originated as a supplement to intensive agriculture in the Early Middle Mumun (850–700 B.C.), when a mix of corporate and network strategies of competition between leaders existed but social differences between community members was deemphasized and consumption of prestige artifacts was limited. Evidence suggests that full-time leaders used the production and distribution of greenstone ornaments and long groundstone daggers in an incipient network strategy to gain power for themselves and their supporters in the Late Middle Mumun.