Excavation Investigation

Excavation Projects

In carrying out excavation investigations and studies of important ruins from the prehistoric and historic periods, the office is attempting to accomplish an accurate restoration of Korean history by presenting reports on site maintenance and restoration as well as research results. Furthermore, investigations of unstable ruins at risk of damage and destruction, as well as of sites likely to receive civil complaints, will also be conducted. Furthermore, investigations of unstable ruins at risk of damage and destruction, as well as of sites likely to receive civil complaints, will also be conducted.

1. Gwangseongbo. (Gwangseongbo Fortification) (Historic Sites No. 227)

KOREA’S FIRST EXCAVATION OF DONDAE IN GANGHWA-DO, WHICH IS A NATIONAL DEFENSE SITE OF THE JOSEON DYNASTY

The National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage conducted excavations of Choru Dondae located in the area at the address of San 47, Bukseong-ri, Yangsa-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon-si.

The excavation of Choru Dondae, a military post inside Ganghwado Fortification, took place as part of a surface survey for historical heritage in that part of the Gimpo area within the DMZ. Carried out to obtain basic knowledge for the restoration of dondae.
(Military posts with an observation tower for fortification on the frontier) in Ganghwa-do, the excavation took place over 36 days, November 17-December 24, 2003.

This archeological investigation is the first excavation of dondae (fortress) located in Ganghwa-do. By modifying the shortcoming of previous investigations and research, which concentrated on the surface of dondae, this investigation has provided important data on the construction of dondae.


View of the Choru Dondae image View of the Choru Dondae
View after the investigation of gun platform (northwest) image View after the investigation of gun platform (northwest)

Built with granite blocks on a 45m-high mountain slope, Choru Dondae has an oval shape and measures 35meters from north to south and 27 meters from east to west. It has three gun platforms along the wall at the north, northwest and northeast, and an entrance at the south. The outside wall of the tower is constructed with rectangular granite blocks stacked in six to eight tiers on a row of base stones. The upper part consists of boulders in three tiers finished with clay mixed with quicklime.

The survey also revealed that the tower’s south and north walls were built on a layer of weathered rocks buried 30 to 40cm under the ground, while the east and west walls were built on foundations strengthened by pebbles plastered with clay. Meanwhile, the inner supporting walls were built with stones the size of a human head, gradually narrowing as it rises up five to six tiers and finished as a two-tier stonewall. The space between the inner and outer walls for the east wall is filled with layers of reddish brown sandy clay, dark brown sandy clay mixed with charcoal, mud, and tidal mud. For the west wall, the space is filled with layers of mud and sand on a foundation layer of pebbles topped with a layer of sand.

It will serve as important data in understanding the development process of Korean fortresses and related traditional techniques.


Soil layer of east wall image Soil layer of east wall
Soil layer of west wall image Soil layer of west wall

Unlike the upper part of the outer wall, which was finished with pebbles, the inner wall is finished with two or three tiers of bricks plastered with quicklime. The stone foundations built on the low ground were reinforced by earth and a layer of fist-sized stones to protect them from damage by rainwater.

Some features of the construction, such as the base stones projecting from the main part of the wall and use of the backfill technique, are typical of Joseon fortress walls, indicating that this military tower was built according to traditional stone wall construction techniques. The excavation team also discovered an artifact bearing an inscription containing the name of a government post and the date of construction, 1720 (“4th month of the 59th year of Ganghui”).

The results of the excavation of Choru Dondae provided essential information for understanding the construction of Korean battery facilities in Ganghwa-do and its vicinity, and practical data needed for repair and restoration projects currently underway on the initiative of Ganghwa-gun. It is expected that the findings will lead to better understanding of Korean defense structures, both in terms of their historical development and technical traditions.


A rubble stone layer to protect the reinforced soil on the external layer image A rubble stone layer to protect the reinforced soil on the external layer
After investigating a burial mound (south side) image After investigating a burial mound
(south side)