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Inter-Korean Excavation Project In Gaesong Unearths Rare Ancient Metal Type Blocks Believed To Be From The Goryeo Dynasty

by Therese Agcopra / Dec 02, 2015 04:05 AM EST
This metal block reportedly comes from the Goryeo Dynasty. (Photo by Council of South and North Historians)

North and South Korea's joint excavation project in the North's border city of Gaesong recently unearthed a rare piece of metal type, a group of historians confirmed Monday.

The metal type was discovered on Nov. 14 and is one of the 3,500 relics excavated from the site, Korea Times reported Tuesday.

The inter-Korean archeological exploration, also known as the Manwoldae Project, is conducted on the site of the medieval royal palace of the Goryeo Kingdom.

"We are presuming, based on its features, that the metal type was created during the Goryeo Kingdom before 1361, when Manwoldae was destroyed," said Choi Kwang Shik, chief of the Council of South and North Historians.

According to NK News, Choi explained that the round hole found at the back of the metal type is indicative of Goryeo's 

"The metal type, excavated from the southern part of Manwoldae's western sites discovered on November 14, was particularly remarkable," Choi added.

The Chinese character for "constant", "sole" or "lovely appears to be engraved on the metal blocks, but the research team suggests further studies, including carbon dating and component analysis, is needed before details about the artifact can be confirmed.

Choi also said that the character found on the recent discoveries is different from the one found in Manwoldae in 1956.

There are two other metal type blocks found from the Goryeo Dynasty, but Choi described the recent finds as "more elaborate and of higher quality".

Korea Herald reported Tuesday the joint excavation project at Manwoldae by North and South Korea first took off in 2007. However, the project was at a standstill in 2011 when inter-Korean tensions erupted.  

The project was revived in June last year with the two Koreas as they mark the 70th anniversary of Korea's freedom from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

Through the project, the team has discovered 19 sites of buildings from Manwoldae as well as porcelain products and roof tiles. 

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