Among the diagnostic features of Japan’s Kofun Period (AD 250–645) are distinctive burial mounds from which the period gets its name. These kofun took a variety of forms, from massive keyhole-shaped mounds to smaller round and rectangular mounds. Differences in tomb scale, location, and content provide evidence for the rise of social stratification and political centralization during this period. This wheel-made, high-fired, Sue Ware vessel comes from a small 5th-century AD tomb in Kamo Village, Tsukubo District, Okayama Prefecture, Japan. U-M Professor Richard Beardsley excavated it in the 1950s. In addition to ceramics, the tomb also contained several iron objects, including parts of a sword and scabbard. No skeletal remains were preserved, but the burial assemblage suggests that the tomb’s occupant was a male of moderate status. This slightly crooked pedestalled cup was part of a set of funerary ceramics that likely held food or beverages.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.