Restoration of Jar Coffins

Project to Restore the Ancient Technology for Producing Large Jar Coffins

Category Research on restoring large jar coffins
Survey period 2008 ~ 2011


This project aims to restore the ancient technology for and culture of producing large jar coffins, and to secure the basic materials required for defining the ancient culture of the Yeongsangang River area, which is thought to have based its funereal culture around the practice of jar coffin tomb customs. The project has been ongoing since 2008, but scientific research of this kind has not been conducted as yet. Archeological survey and research on the technology of producing large jar coffins, as well as convergence research on defining the jar coffins through production tests based on scientific analysis of their components are unprecedented, innovative attempts by South Korea's archeological community, contributing to the country's development of experimental archeological methodology and offering a new research direction.

The project is divided into the gathering and analysis of data, the excavation and survey of jar coffin production kilns, the analysis of components, and production experiments. The related research achievements include the gathering and analysis of domestic and overseas jar coffin materials (six cases including four symposia on ancient jar coffins and the publication of East-Asia Jar Coffin Tombs as one book and six volumes); the test excavation and excavation of jar coffin kilns and jar coffin ancient tombs (ten cases including one excavation survey report on the Kiln Sites in Oryang-dong, Naju, and one presentation of remains excavation survey - Honam Archeology Society); analysis and research on large jar coffins (four cases including 79 large jar coffins, 10 samples of earth, and 160 component analysis samples); and production experiments on large jar coffins (17 cases including an experiment involving the production of large jar coffins).

In 2012, using experimental archeological methods based on the results of excavations of jar-coffin kilns and the observation data of large jar coffins, we will restore the technology for producing large jar coffins and attempt to produce some. Furthermore, through the scientific analysis of large jar coffins and kiln wall fragments, we will also define the causes of the black spots observed on the large jar coffins and the causes of differences in color between the internal and external surfaces thereof.

From 2013, we will drive ahead with the second stage project to distribute and utilize large jar coffins. We will survey the large-jar coffin kilns and supplementary facilities, observe large jar coffins and analyze their components, thus defining the distribution network of large jar coffins and the characteristics and trends of large jar coffins by period and by region. We will also conduct an archeological experiment concerning the method of supplying large jar coffins, and the use and abandonment of large jar coffins as burial facilities, with a view to restoring the ancient funeral ritual involving the use of these large jar coffins.

If the second stage project is successful, we will be able to provide new information on the large jar coffin distribution network, and the utilization thereof as a burial facility, to academia to lay the groundwork for defining the nature of the jar coffin tomb society. Such data will also be significantly utilized for arranging and restoring jar coffins for the Cultural Heritage Administration, and for tourism and education using jar coffins for local governments, policy-making agencies, and the general public.

See A Related Image

image First International Symposium on Ancient Jar Coffins
image Talks about the Kiln Site in Oryang-dong with Jar Master Lee Hyeon-bae
image Sampling of components by the NRICH
image Molding large jar coffins
image Transporting jar coffins in a large kiln
image Photo showing the firing of large jar coffins
image Kneading earth evenly
image Kneading side earth evenly
image Internal trimming
image Measuring a jar coffin's height
image Making basic clay
image Kneading earth samples and fixing the frame
image Talks on Vietnam surveys
image Meeting to review the designs for restoring jar coffin kilns
image Workshop opened to the general public
image Wall pilling for the restoration of a large jar coffin kiln
image Measurement of the whole-rock magnetic susceptibility rate and color-difference meter
image Firing work (after closing the kiln door)