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Largest storage shed of Baekje discovered in Cheonan

Posted November. 14, 2017 07:33,   

Updated November. 14, 2017 08:51


The biggest wooden storage shed named “Mokgwakgo” of the Baekje Kingdom has been excavated at Seonggeo Mountain in Cheonan, hinting at a possibility that the site was a station for Baekje’s soldiers during the 5th to 6th Century.

“Mokgwakgo made in the Baekje Kingdom was discovered during the excavation investigation of a well named ‘Yongsaem’ (which literally means ‘dragon spring’ in Korean) located in Wiryeseong Fortress (South Chungcheong Province Monument No. 148) in Seonggeo Mountain, Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province,” announced the Chungnam Institute of History and Culture Monday. The wooden storage shed with a square floor is the largest of its kind ever discovered with the width of 5.5 meters, the height of 5.4 meters, and the depth of 1.8 meters. Another Mokgwakgo earlier found in the mountain fortress in Wolpyeong-dong, Daejeon was 5.2-meter wide and long.

According to the institute, the storage shed unearthed this time is believed to have been created during the Baekje Kingdom and later reconstructed and used as a stone well throughout the Unified Silla Kingdom and Joseon Dynasty. The radiocarbon dating of woods in the upper part of Mokgwakgo showed that they were from the 5th to 6th Century, after Baekje relocated from Hanseong (Seoul) to Sabi (present-day Buyeo County).

“Mokgwakgo found in Mountain Seonggeo holds great importance as it shows the prototype of Baekje’s architecture with the diverse wood processing and construction techniques of the time,” said Lee Jong-soo, president of the Chungnam Institute of History and Culture who is also a professor at Dankook University.

The institute believes that Mokgwakgo was possibly used as the storage of drinking water, citing its clay-coated walls. Also, the presence of the nearby fortress suggests that Baekje’s soldiers were stationed on the site. This place was once assumed to have been the first capital of Baekje “Wiryeseong” together with “Pungnaptoseong Fortress” in Seoul, but no trace of related remains has been found thus far.

Sang-Un Kim sukim@donga.com