The Korea Herald


Bangucheon petroglyphs proposed as UNESCO World Heritage Site

By Choi Si-young

Published : Jan. 31, 2024 - 15:38

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The Daegok-ri petroglyphs in Ulsan’s Ulju-gun. (Cultural Heritage Administration) The Daegok-ri petroglyphs in Ulsan’s Ulju-gun. (Cultural Heritage Administration)

The Cultural Heritage Administration has turned in an application to add to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site petroglyphs or rock carvings at the stream Bangucheon in Ulsan, which date back to prehistoric times, the agency said Wednesday.

Bangucheon encompasses a series of historical sites in Ulsan’s Ulju-gun, including the Cheonjeon-ri and Daegok-ri petroglyphs, both designated as national treasures.

The Cheonjeon-ri petroglyphs, found about halfway down the stream Daegokcheon, are well known for its depiction of life from prehistoric times to the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.). The Daegok-ri petroglyphs, measuring 4 meters in height and 10 meters in width, also offer a glimpse into prehistoric life through animals and hunting scenes.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which advises the World Heritage Committee, will send a team to inspect the site in person -- a review process that involves experts making one of three choices about Korea’s application. The review is expected to take place sometime between March 2024 and June 2025.

After the review, they can recommend, dismiss or hold off on the proposal, a decision that will be made ahead of the next year’s annual session of the committee slated to be held in July 2025 by the World Heritage Center, which is where applications are received.

Last year, South Korea was elected to the 21-member committee. The committee members, generally rotated every 4 years, do not hold sway over which proposals make world heritage sites though, because the expert group fielded by the ICOMOS will largely dictate that decision, according to a CHA official.

“We will have to wait and see how the on-site inspection goes,” the official added.