The Korea Herald


Gaya Tumuli recommended for UNESCO listing

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : May 11, 2023 - 15:53

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Goseong Songhak-dong Tumuli in Goseong, South Gyeongsang Province (CHA) Goseong Songhak-dong Tumuli in Goseong, South Gyeongsang Province (CHA)

The Gaya Tumuli, seven tomb clusters of Korea's ancient Gaya Kingdom (42-562), have been recommend for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the Cultural Heritage Administration announced Thursday.

The decision was made during a meeting of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a cultural heritage evaluation advisory organization under UNESCO, according to the CHA.

The World Heritage Committee's final decision will be made during its 45th session, scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia from Sept. 10-25.

Some 780 tumuli of various sizes were built during the Gaya period, with some bearing burial accessories and goods that indicate that Gaya, a loose federation, was actively engaged in international trade.

The seven tumuli recommended for enlistment are Gimhae Daeseong-dong Tumuli, Haman Marisan Tumuli, Hapcheon Okjeon Tumuli, Goryeong Jisan-dong Tumuli, Goseong Songhak-dong Tumuli, Changnyeong Gyo-dong and Songhyeon-dong Tumuli and Namwon Yugok-ri and Durak-ri Tumuli.

Located in highly visible hilly areas along the Nakdong River, the seven tumuli display the architectural style of graves built in the 4th and 5th centuries.

The Gaya Tumuli not only serves as crucial archaeological evidence of the Gaya culture with its distinct confederated political system, but also presents the diversity found among ancient East Asian civilizations.

The addition of Gaya Tumuli to the UNESCO list would bring to 16 the total number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in South Korea. Getbol, Korean tidal flats, were inscribed in 2021 and Seowon, Korean neo-Confucian academies, in 2019.