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Possible Goryeo remains discovered at construction site

March 20, 2023 - 15:41 By Park Ga-young
This undated photo shows a site in Sinyeong-dong of Jongno, Seoul, where foundation stones, plinths and other remnants were discovered. (Cultural Heritage Administration)

A historical site and numerous cultural relics thought to date back to the Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392) have been found at a construction site in Sinyeong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, according to the Cultural Heritage Administration and a private association commissioned to conduct a preliminary survey of the site on Monday.

An architectural history survey was launched in December at the site, which had been used as a parking lot and was in the process of being developed into an apartment complex. The survey revealed traces of a building estimated to have been constructed during the Goryeo Kingdom.

An archaeological review for such historic artifacts is a prerequisite for any construction in the area, designated as a cultural environment and heritage preservation area.

After examining the 1,382-square-meter lot, the Sudo Institute of Cultural Heritage responsible for the site survey found a roof tile with "Seungan Third Year" engraved on it, along with celadon and pottery. "Seungan Third Year" is presumed to refer to 1198.

"Those relics are certainly from the Goryeo (Kingdom), but since there is little reference about the site from the period, we're still trying to figure out what the site was used for," Oh Kyong-taek, head of the Sudo Institute of Cultural Heritage, told The Korea Herald on Monday. More details about the site and relics will be announced in a couple of weeks, Oh said.

A vase presumed to be from Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392) is found during examination of a site that began in December 2022. (Cultural Heritage Administration)

Nonetheless, foundation stones, plinths and other remnants found since December remain relatively intact and might offer clues to the structure and style of civil engineering and architecture during the Goryeo Kingdom.

There has been no previous confirmed case of a building of this scale from the Goryeo Kingdom found in Seoul, according to an official from the CHA.

Meanwhile, just 370 meters away from the site, other traces of a building presumed to date back to the Goryeo Kingdom were also discovered at a public parking lot construction site.

Relics unearthed from a construction site in Sinyeong-dong of Jongno, Seoul, are shown on Monday. (Yonhap)