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Ancient tomb remains found at stadium site

Remains of Jugu grave, a type of tomb created during Korea’s Baekje Kingdom (B.C. 18-A.D. 660), found in the land secured for the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Stadium. (Cultural Heritage Administration)
Remains of Jugu grave, a type of tomb created during Korea’s Baekje Kingdom (B.C. 18-A.D. 660), found in the land secured for the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Stadium. (Cultural Heritage Administration)

Remains of tombs dating back to Korea’s Baekje Kingdom (B.C. 18―A.D. 660) have been discovered at the site secured for the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Stadium.

Seokyong Cultural Properties Research Institute, a government-affiliated organization, has been excavating the lot since March 2010.

The investigation team in August of last year started focusing on a particular 58,996 square-meter plot of land where traces of the tombs, known as Jugu graves, were found.

A total of 39 sites were found, along with more than 1,000 remains of dugout mud holes and Joseon Dynasty pit-houses, the organization said.

During the Baekje period, the dead would be placed in a square ditch with a hole at the bottom. The body would then be buried using the mud dug for the grave.

“The ditch had a symbolic meaning,” said Lee Young-ho of Seokyong Cultural Properties Research Institute.

“The people believed it would connect this world to the afterlife.”

Most of the Jugu grave sites have lost their center where the bodies were buried, Lee said.

“Most of the sites only have their square ditches remaining,” he said.

“This is a rare case, as Jugu graves are rarely discovered in Incheon,” said Noh Seon-ho, another official of the institute.

“The remains are not in a good condition, but they are significant for future academic research, nevertheless.”

Apart from the lot the team has been excavating, construction of the stadium has already begun. The excavation team will complete their work by next week, and the property will be turned into a green outdoor space next to the stadium, Noh said.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)
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