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CHA to unveil technologies to protect cultural heritage

By Choi Si-young

Published : Jan. 8, 2024 - 14:47

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Workers remove a tarp covering the vandalized part of the Gyeongbokgung wall on Jan. 4. (Yonhap) Workers remove a tarp covering the vandalized part of the Gyeongbokgung wall on Jan. 4. (Yonhap)

Authorities will soon roll out technologies that can better protect cultural heritage from natural disasters, the result of a yearlong project, the Cultural Heritage Administration said Monday.

According to the agency, special structures will be used to shield historic sites from disasters like wildfires and technologies using radiation analysis will be available to identify the best preservation methods.

A center dedicated to employing high-end technologies will be set up, the agency added.

“The annual average number of patents related to preserving cultural heritage in the last five years is close to 16,” a senior CHA official said.

The official referred to the latest repair of Gyeongbokgung, a Joseon-period palace in downtown that was vandalized with graffiti in December. Last week, the agency revealed a plan to prevent a recurrence, involving more security personnel and surveillance cameras.

“Repairing damage done to national heritage sites is an arduous task,” Choi Eung-chon, the CHA chief, said during a briefing on Jan. 4. Damage repair was about 80 percent complete, CHA officials said at the briefing.

The agency spent at least 20 million won ($15,000) cleaning the damaged areas of Gyeongbokgung -- the entrance to Yeongchu Gate, the palace’s western gate, and the side gate of the National Palace Museum. Cleaning up the graffiti required about 30 people to work on the restoration for eight days, according to the agency.

The national treasure was spray-painted twice, first by two minors, and later by a 28-year-old man in an act of copycat vandalism.