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Tracking Chronological Change in Korean Burials of the Koryo Period

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image of Journal of East Asian Archaeology

Over the past ten years or so an increasing number of graves dating to the Koryo kingdom (AD 918-1392) have been unearthed in South Korea. Even though the overall number is not large, the new material offers a much-needed opportunity to gain a better understanding of the funeral customs of this period. Based on a sample of 145 intact graves dating from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries, this study highlights differences between Early and Late Koryo burials with regard to construction method, grave size, artifact types, and overall quantity of burial goods. By drawing on historical sources, the article also attempts to explain the causes behind the changes that can be observed in the burial data.


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