A Bronze Age Rice Storage (Updated)

Last March, Korean archaeologists of Ch'ungch'ŏng Munhwajae Yŏn'guwŏn discovered a subterranean rice storage at Hwagŭm-ri, Sŏch'ŏn district, Ch'ungch'ŏng Namdo province. (126° 42 ' 40 ” E, 36° 05 ' 15” N) Performing a rescue excavation at the area, they found a pit of 152-164cm in diameter and 22cm in depth filled with carbonized rice of about 120kg (265lbs.) in addition to four Bronze Age dwellings, one Paekche tomb, and four Chosŏn period tombs. Scholars think of the pit as a space to save seeds for cultivation, not provisions, considered that, up to the Chosŏn period, it was very rare to live on only rice. Even though radiocarbon dating is still in progress now, if the pit is coincident with the adjacent Bronze Age dwellings dating back to 8 to 7 century B.C., this discovery will provide us with informative clues on the early stage of rice agriculture in Korean peninsula.


Related information

1) Intermediate report by Ch'ungch'ŏng Munhwajae Yŏn'guwŏn (PDF file in Korean, 13.3MB)

2) Article on the excavation written in The Hankyoreh


*** June 13, Ch'ungch'ŏng Munhwajae Yŏn'guwŏn (CMY) released that the rice storage discovered at Sŏch'ŏn last March had been measured to be built in the eighth century A.D. with Accelerated Mass Spectrometry (AMS) analysis. Since this result is so different from the initial estimation, CMY is still waiting for another measurement from an American Institution to which CMY has sent samples. (Related article)

(Trans. Jae-ho Shin)