Discovery of Koryo dynasty metal type pieces

© Excavation of Manwoldae royal palace, North Korea by Eric Lafforgue.

© Excavation of Manwoldae royal palace, North Korea by Eric Lafforgue.


North Korea has excavated four more metal type pieces from the palace site of the ancient Koryo dynasty in Kaesong, Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday (18 May 2016).

The two Koreas have conducted a number of joint excavation projects in recent years but the North conducted this one autonomously, as every inter-Korean exchange project, including humanitarian aid, has been suspended since Pyongyang’s nuclear test early this year.

“Three of the metal types are of cuboid shape, 12-13 mm wide, 10-11 mm long and 6-7 mm high … The last type is 7 mm wide and 6 mm long,” the KCNA article reads.

North Korean historians ascertained that the newly found pieces were created in the 12th or 13th century, which is before the royal palace Manwoldae was destroyed in 1361 by an invasion from the Red Turban rebels out of China. The Koryo Dynasty lasted from 918 to 1392.

The inter-Korean joint excavation team found another metal type piece last year after a six-month excavation project at the site. Last October, historians from the two Koreas held an academic conference in Kaesong, making policy proposals to accelerate the excavation which would likely take 30 years at the current rate.

An inter-Korean group of researchers had implemented excavations since 2007 but had their work repeatedly set back by suspensions amid the fluctuations in relations between the South and the North.

Previously, Seoul-based historians said there were only two pieces of existing Koryo metal type, one in the South and one in the North. The one found last year was the third to be proven as made during the Koryo Dynasty.

If the North’s new discoveries were verified, it would more than double the total number of pieces to have been discovered.

Shin Joon-young, who visited the site regularly as a secretary general of the Council of South and North Korean Historians, said the new discovery is plausible.

“Working at the site, there are tons of ceramic pieces and other relics,” Shin told NK News. “Metal types are gathered in one site where the books were published.”

North Korean archeologists were aiming to complete excavation of the western part of the palace within this year, on the occasion of the Seventh Party Congress, the KCNA reported in April.

“Originally we agreed to excavate the site from last February to November this year, for almost nine months, which is longer than last year’s project,” Shin said.

“We understand that sanctions are inevitable, but hope to continue communications, which are not relevant to the sanctions.”


By Ha-young Choi

Source : NK News

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