|Pieces of Goryeo celadon uncovered in the latest archeological exploration in the waters off Jindo Island, South Jeolla Province. (The National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage)|
Off the southern coast of Korea near Jindo Island, a team of Korean archaeologists have discovered a cornucopia of relics that they hope will provide a glimpse into the country’s rich history of cultural assets.
Among the artifacts are a pair of ceramic jars believed to date back to the Three Kingdoms era (57 to 668 AD) and two items that look like yogo, an ancient prototype of janggo, the traditional hourglass-shaped double headed drum.
“The waters off Oryu-ri, Jindo, are an underwater treasure trove that holds artifacts from the early period of the Three Kingdoms to the Joseon era,” the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage said in a press release Thursday, detailing the finds from its second round of exploration of the site. The search took place between April and December.
Over 500 exhumed artifacts span in time vastly from the 1st century to the 16th century, a long period which goes from the Three Kingdoms to the Joseon era, it added.
A total of 265 pieces of pale blue-green ceramics go back to the Goryeo era, with some of them having a high archeological significance. Round stones presumed to have been used as cannonballs during Japanese invasion into Joseon (1592-1599) were also found.
The first excavation in 2012 has yielded some high-quality relics, including animal-shaped incense burners and 16th century guns.
“A third exploration is scheduled for May this year,” the state-run agency said. This time, archaeologists are hoping to find an even larger number of relics, such as sunken ancient ships, as many anchor stones were retrieved from the sea floor there.
The deep-sea treasure trove first came to light in 2011 when a team of relic thieves were captured.
Another ring of thieves, this time including two employees of the state-run cultural heritage administration, were caught in 2012 for trying to steal relics recovered there.
By Lee Sun-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)