Archaeological News

            The latest news in archaeology.             

Posts tagged "south korea"

A poetic love letter written by a mourning Korean wife that was found beside the mummified body of the woman’s husband has grabbed the limelight many a time since its discovery more than a decade ago.

Archaeologists at Andong National University found a 16th century male mummy in Andong City in South Korea in 2000. Along with it was a heart-rending letter written by the dead man’s pregnant wife who poured out her grief into what has become a testament of loss, lamentation and berievement.

The 5-feet-9-inches mummy was identified as that of Eung-tae, after a total of 13 letters addressed to that name were found in the tomb.

But one letter, a love poem written by his wife in old Latin and addressed to “Won’s Father”, depict the state of a love-lorn widow left in the world alone with a child in the womb. Read more.

A recovered stolen cultural artifact from South Korea that Detroit homeland security agents helped find has been returned, officials announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit returned the Hojo currency plate, looted during the Korean War from the Deoksu Palace in Seoul. The South Korean government received the plate Tuesday during a repatriation ceremony, marking the first time ICE has returned a cultural artifact to the country.

The Hojo currency plate dates back to 1893 during the Joseon Dynasty. It is one of only three in existence.

Homeland Security Investigations special agents in Detroit conducted an investigation that led to the plate’s seizure in New York. Read more.

A hat which belonged to South Korea’s most revered monarch King Sejong has been recovered more than 500 years after it was looted by Japanese invaders, a senior scholar said Wednesday.
Apart from its intrinsic value as an historical relic, the discovery has thrilled scholars after documents were found stitched inside the hat carrying explanations of King Sejong’s greatest legacy — the Hangeul alphabet.

The monarch known as Sejong the Great ruled from 1418-1450. His reign had a profound impact on Korean history with the introduction of the Hangeul phonetic alphabet that replaced classical Chinese characters.
Hangeul vastly increased literacy — previously restricted to the top scholarly class — and remains the official script of both South and North Korea. Read more.

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s archaeological agency says it has unearthed evidence of East Asia’s oldest known farming site.

Archaeologist Cho Mi-soon said Wednesday that the agency has found the remains of a farming field from the Neolithic period on South Korea’s east coast. The site may be up to 5,600 years old. That’s more than 2,000 years older than what is now the second-oldest known site, which also is in South Korea.

During the Neolithic period humans began living in permanent settlements and farming after a previous nomadic existence of hunting and gathering.

Cho points to traces of pottery and house remains found at the site as proof of its age. She says material was tested and determined to be from the Neolithic period. (source)

SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s national museum said Tuesday it has launched an online service where users can view some of the royal books retrieved from France early last year.

"We built a digital database of the Oegyujanggak books and made them available on our Web site to better preserve the original copies and improve users’ accessibility," the National Museum of Korea said in a statement.

The museum said it plans to expand the online service to include the full collection of the returned books in the future.

France returned the 297 volumes of ancient books through a renewable lease in April and May last year. The books were looted from Korea in 1866 during the French troops’ invasion of Ganghwa Island off the west coast of the country.

The books are from a collection of documents known as “Uigwe,” which recorded and illustrated royal protocols used during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The texts describe the procedures and formalities used to conduct weddings, funerals, banquets and other royal events. (source)

The books can be accessed via

SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) — South Korea on Tuesday reclaimed 1,200 ancient books about a century after they were stolen by Japan during its 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula.

   The books that had been stored by the Japanese Imperial Household Agency arrived at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on two separate flights.

   The ancient books include a collection of documents known as “Uigwe,” which records and illustrates royal protocols used during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The texts describe the procedures and formalities used to conduct weddings, funerals, banquets and other royal events.

   Shortly after the arrival of the first batch of books, there was a simple ceremony at the airport to celebrate their return. Read more.

ScienceDaily — Human domestication of soybeans is thought to have first occurred in central China some 3,000 years ago, but archaeologists now suggest that cultures in even earlier times and in other locations adopted the legume (Glycine max).

Comparisons of 949 charred soybean samples from 22 sites in northern China, Japan and South Korea — found in ancient households including hearths, flooring and dumping pits — with 180 modern charred and unburned samples were detailed in the Nov. 4 edition of the online journal PLoS ONE, a publication of the Public Library of Science.

The findings, say lead author Gyoung-Ah Lee, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon, add a new view to long-running assumptions about soybean domestication that had been based on genetic and historical records. Read more.