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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2018 year, number 2


I.S. Gnezdilova
Institute of Archeology and Ethnography SB RAS, 17, Acad. Lavrentiev av., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russian Federation
Keywords: Японский архипелаг, эпоха кофун, погребальный комплекс, курган, деревянные ритуальные предметы, ханива, Japanese archipelago, wooden ritual objects, kofun age, burial mound, haniwa


Kofun is a special type of burial mounds built on the Japanese archipelago during the Kofun period (III-VII centuries AD), which are known from ancient times. They are mentioned in the first historical chronicles and attracted attention not only due to their size, but also due to their external appearance with clay figures - haniwa. However, results of mound archaeological research carried out in the second half of the XX - early XXI centuries managed to confirm the theory of applying wooden ritual objects on kofuns. The article objective is to identify the currently available data on finding wooden objects at kofuns, possibly, of ritual destination, which were used in construction of the kofun external mound; reveal the basic types of wooden objects, their quantitative characteristics, methods for installing them on mound; define the territory of spreading the tradition and time of its existence. The complexity of studying wooden products is associated with the material’s poor preservation. It was not clear for a long time what way they were used. Research of Imadza-tokurumadzuka kofun made it possible for the first time to reconstruct the way of using these wooden objects. Wooden objects in the shape of a lid were found during the excavations of the kofun moat; nearby there were posts for their installation, and stratigraphy research revealed the steps of the mound with holes to fix the pillars in the haniwa row. There are 39 monuments with wooden ritual objects found in the territory of the Japanese archipelago, and one mound - in the Korean peninsula. The main area of distribution is the central part of Honshu Island (modern prefectures of Nara and Shiga). The archaeological material analysis identifies several types of wooden objects. The research results show that wooden objects were used since the late IV century approximately until the middle VI century on kofuns (burial mounds) of the central part of Honshu Island. Unlike haniwa, which reproduced the lifetime of the deceased, wooden objects installed on kofun probably belonged to the sphere of the spiritual world.