Ten South Korean academic societies of archeology and historical studies including Baekje Society are calling for preservation of the Daetongsa Temple Site in unison. The academic societies held a press conference on Thursday at the headquarters of Young Korean Academy in Jongno-gu, Seoul, and issued a statement to urge a complete investigation and preservation of the Daetongsa Temple of Baekje Era, which has been discovered dramatically in 1,500 years,” while demanding action plans on the part of the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) and the city government of Gongju of South Chungcheong Province to preserve the temple site.
It was during an excavation investigation conducted by Haneol Research Institute of Cultural Heritage in January into a construction site for traditional Korean housing at Banjuk-dong in the city of Gongju that the Daetongsa Temple site came to light for the first time. A roof tile with a part of the temple’s name printed on was dug up during the investigation. The findings drew a keen attention in the academia as they included a decorative tile on the ridge of the roof as well as a mud Buddhist statue, which can be found only in large-sized temples that served as national temples such as Wangheungsa Temple of Buyeo or Hwangryongsa Temple of Gyeongju.
The issue at hand is that the excavation site is scheduled to house large-sized traditional Korean houses. And the vicinity of the premises, which is presumed to be part of the temple’s site, is currently occupied with residential housing, making it impossible to launch an extensive investigation.
The academia argues that the relevant institutes including the CHA and local municipalities must step up their effort to designate the land as a historical site and purchase it for preservation. Last month, the CHA put together an evaluation panel for preservation to reach a conclusion on the necessity to preserve the site, but specific plans have yet to be figured out.
Won-Mo Yu email@example.com