Emergence of complex society in prehistoric Korea has long been understood as a socioeconomic corollary of its Bronze Age agriculture (1300–300 b.c. ). Archaeological data accumulated in recent years, however, point to the contrary. By around 3500 b.c. Korea’s Neolithic society had gone beyond foraging and collecting and become a society of the middle ground. It became increasingly sedentary and began food production, initially at a low level, as it sought to secure critical resources through logistic strategies. It also increasingly utilized storage as a mechanism of risk and wealth management. Gradually intensifying subsistence strategies that combined hunting, fishing, gathering, mobile horticulture, and storage mechanism, enabled Korea’s Chulmun Neolithic society to maintain its sociopolitical and economic stability over a period of several millennia. The intensification increased during the Late Neolithic with emerging mixed crop farming and mass-capture of marine resources. Post-Neolithic florescence of rice-based agriculture and the revolutionary societal elaboration during and beyond the Bronze Age were direct outcomes of socioeconomic foundations laid by the indigenous Korean hunter-fisher-gatherer-cultivators during the Chulmun Neolithic.


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