Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The Establishment and Expansion of Moat Encircling Settlements in the Yayoi Period


(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies, Department of Japanese History)

Key words:

moat encircling settlements, moat encircling sites, agricultural culture, cultural customs, rare

This paper presents research on moat encircling settlements of the Yayoi period in Japan.

Until the 1980s, many archaelologists thought the moat encircling settlements of at the Yayoi period were standard Defense settlements for warfare. Recently, however, many researchers have not adopted the defense theory.

In this paper I review and consider Yayoi moat encircling settlements based on the research results so far. I have studied the research on over 250 moat encircling settlements in Japan and Korea. It is thought that, moat encircling settlements were not standard large settlements of the Yayoi period, rather, they were very rare settlements and only particular farming groups lived at such moat encircling settlements.

With the establishment of agricultural culture, encircled settlements declined and eventually disappeared in Yayoi Culture. Most moat encircling sites were not settlements; however, some moat encircling settlements in the middle stage of the Yayoi period were large settlements.

The examination and understanding of the moat encircling settlements of the Japanese islands can illuminate various regional differences.