An aerial view of the Gusan-dong Dolmen site, located in Gusan-dong, Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, on Sunday (CHA)
Gimhae City has withdrawn its application for the Gusan-dong Dolmen to be designated as a national historic site.
The city sent an official document to the Cultural Heritage Administration for the withdrawal after mounting criticism had been made by experts who visited the site for preinspection on July 28, to find out that damage had occurred during the restoration process.
The city had mapped out the restoration project and taken action since December 2020. A total of 1.6 billion won ($1.2 million) had been spent on the project so far.
In January this year, upon the ongoing multiphased restoration project, the city submitted an official application document requesting a review of the Gusan-dong Dolmen to be named a national historic site.
Such a reversal by a local government, prior to any orders given by the CHA, is rare.
Although the damages require further investigation, experts and the CHA both reported that temporarily displacing the underlying stones of the dolmen, which potentially has relics from the Bronze Age buried underneath, has already caused significant damage.
The Gusan-dong Dolmen has been designated as the South Gyeongsang Province Monument No. 280.
The nation’s current law on buried cultural heritage protection states that any restoration that requires removal or change from the current state of a relic should be reported to and confirmed by the CHA before action is taken.
After admitting to its faults Saturday, the city announced Tuesday that it will work on making up for the mishandling.
“We are currently waiting for the CHA’s supplementation order and will try to reflect on all of them and reapply for the designation when the site is ready,” a Gimhae City official in charge of the project said.
The CHA has announced that legal measures against the city’s management of the site will be considered based on expert investigation.
By Kim Hae-yeon (firstname.lastname@example.org