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home - The Dolmens and Megaliths of Korea - home
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Korea and megaliths? Korea is a megalithic surprise.
Did you know that Korea claims to have more megalithic dolmens than any other country in the world? A dolmen in Korea is called a Goindol viz. Gisokmyo or Jiseokmyo (Japanese 支石墓 ). A dolmen in Chinese is Seokbung 石棚). The common sign seok (石) in Japanese, Korean and Chinese means "stone".

As written at the Korean Hwasun dolmen site, "it is assumed that the Hwasun dolmens were erected from about 3000 B.C." This correlates with the date of ca. 3117 BC which has been fixed by Megaliths.net as the era of the Megalithic Survey of the Earth.

As reported by the March 12, 1999 Korean Herald, Korea does have a tremendous number of dolmens at its megalithic sites. Three of these sites were included in 2001 in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

These sites are described by The Korean National Heritage Online as:

Kochang [Gochang] Dolmen Site

"The Chungnim-ri [Jungnim-ri] dolmens, the largest and most diversified group, center on the village of Maesan. Most of them are located at altitudes of 15-50m along the southern foot of the hills that run east to west. The capstones of the dolmens here are 1-5.8m in length and can weigh 10-300 tons. A total of 442 dolmens have been recorded, of various types, based on the shape of the capstone."

Hwasun Dolmen Site - see Hwasun

"Like those in the Kochang [Gochang] group, the Hwasun dolmens are located on the slopes of low ranges of hills, along the Chiseokgang [Jiseokgang] River. Individual dolmens in this area are less intact than those in Kochang. The Hyosan-ri group is estimated to comprise 158 monuments and the Taesin-ri [Daesin-ri] group 129. In a number of cases the stone outcrops from which the stones making up the dolmens were quarried can be identified."

Kanghwa [Ganghwa] Dolmen Sites [include Ursa Major]

"These sites are on the offshore island of Kanghwa [Ganghwa], once again on mountain slopes. They tend to be higher than those in the other sites and stylistically early, notably those at Bugun-ri [the largest dolmen] and Gochon-ri."

See photos of a dolmen of Kanghwa [new spelling Ganghwa] which we think marks the stars of Ursa Major, see also here.

Korea korean dolmens Ganghwa Kanghwa Ursa Major Milky Way

The Ganghwa dolmen is in this regard similar to the megalithic site at Skregg, County Roscommon in Ireland, which also marks Ursa Major, see here.

Amsa-dong Misari Prehistoric Settlements - what is now Seoul may have marked the Center of Heaven for the Neolithic Survey of Korea

We can not be sure of our Kanghwa [Ganghwa] Ursa Major identification because we simply do not have enough photos or information about the rest of the dolmens in Korea. However, if this identification were correct, then it would mean that the Amsa-dong and Misari prehistoric settlement - now Seoul - marked the center of heaven in the ancient Neolithic survey of Korea by astronomy. Mizar, a star in Ursa Major, has a name similarity to Misari, but this could be pure chance.

Yuri Dolmen, ChangRyong, near Taegu, Korea marks Orion's Belt

The Yuri Dolmen at ChangRyong, near Taegu, Korea, gives us a clear identification for the placement of the megaliths in Korea in the ancient megalithic survey. The Yuri Dolmen represent's Orion's Belt by its ancient location on a site formed as a three-pronged plow. See in this regard http://myhome.shinbiro.com/~kbyon/dolmen/yuri.htm

Yuri Dolmen ChangRyong Taegu Korea Orion's Belt

Yuri Dolmen is like Chinese and Japanese Karasuki Boshi,
the three-pronged plow of Orion's Belt

We see this identification substantiated in ancient Chinese and Japanese astronomy, where the "three-forked plow" was Orion's Belt, envisioned as below by Saori Ihara and Steve Renshaw. See http://www2.gol.com/users/stever/orion.htm

Karasuki Boshi Chinese Japanese ancient astronomy Orion

Ara Kaya Tumuli, Dohangri, Haman (Kaya), near Pusan, Korea and the rock drawing there mark the stars below and to the left of Orion toward the "outer leg" of the Milky Way at Vela and the Vela Supernova
(in Latvian Ara Kaya means "outer leg")

Another decipherment that we have made is based on photographs and drawings of the Ara Kaya Tumuli and Petroglyphs shown by Byon Kwang-Hyon at http://myhome.shinbiro.com/~kbyon/petro/dohang.htm and a photograph by Russell Croman of Vela found at http://www.portaldoastronomo.org/npod.php?id=714

Ara Kaya Dohangri Haman Pusan Korea Petroglyphs Tumuli Vela

Bangu-Dae Ulsan Korea Rock Drawing marks Pisces and Cetus

Another decipherment that we have made is of the megalithic site of Bangu-Dae in Ulsan, Southeast Korea, which we think marked Pisces and Cetus in the ancient megalithic survey of Korea.

Bangu-Dae Ulsan Korea Rock Drawing Pisces Cetus

The rock drawing at Bangu-Dae in Ulsan on the coast of southeast Korea (in what is now South Korea) marks this whaling region of Korea as Pisces and Cetus in the ancient geodetic survey of the Korean Peninsula by astronomy, in which survey the area of Seoul marked the center of heaven. This rock drawing covers the region of the sky from the Spring Equinox to the Winter Solstice ca. 3117 BC. Caelum is marked as the profile of a human face. Eridanus is an animal or possibly a swordfish. Pisces and Cetus are marked by fish (perhaps whales). Taurus is marked by a boat. Auriga is the head of a bird, Perseus is a human figure, Cassiopeia is marked by four figures for its four major stars. Andromeda and Pegasus seem to be formed by the head of an elephant. The Circlet of Pisces could be a fishing boat and Aquarius a type of "floating bucket" used to hold captured whales above water in ancient days. The marked line on the stone marks the line of the Winter Solstice. To its right are Cygnus as the head of a bird and below that the figures of a dog's head and a cat's figure. Capricorn could be a hook or some round fish.

More General Megalithic Information about Korea

Korea has a long history of human habitation, indicating settlement from the north. There is some dispute as to whether the first inhabitants were proto-Caucasian and only then followed by people of Mongoloid stock.

The president of the World Megalithic Association (WMA) in Korea, Yoo In-hak, claimed in 1999 that 25,000 dolmens still existed in Korea as opposed to 80,000 dolmens and standing stones thirty years previous. Most have been destroyed by land development, construction and ignorance. The largest dolmen, Bugun-ri, in Korea is 7.1 x 5.5 meters in size.

Koreans categorize three types of dolmens. Northern dolmens (Jisangsukkwak), a high capstone supported by two or four megaliths, are "table" dolmens allegedly influenced by Siberian culture. Southern types of dolmens (Paduk) have megaliths between underground chambers and capstones. Mixed dolmens have an underground chamber covered by a stone capstone without supporting megaliths. A two km long megalithic row of dolmens used to be found on Korea, but of these dolmens only five remain today.

The prevailing belief system of ancient Korea was astronomical. See a detailed discussion at Patterns and Practices of Village Rites by Chang Chong-ryong, Professor of Folklore at Kangnung National University. We find that astronomical Sardinian nuraghis of Europe are similar to the structure found at the site of the ancient Cheomseongdae astronomical observatory near Gyeongju, Korea, at the Silla Mounds, which also have rock carvings. Cheomseongdae is not Neolithic, but may harken back to more ancient days and to more ancient connections with the megalithic peoples of old.

Astronomical Asepcts of Dolmens in Korea - Cup marks

Astronomical Aspects Of Dolmens In Korea is an article by Professor Changbom Park (Seoul National University, Korea) and Hong-Jin Yang (Kyungbook National University, Korea) published at the World Archaeological Congress, Recent Developments In Korean Archaeology. A Commemoration Of The 10th Memorial Anniversary Of Dr. Kim Won Yong. Washington D. C., June, 2003. In that article Park and Yang write as follows in the article abstract:

"We have surveyed about 530 dolmens distributed in various provinces in South Korea. Many of the dolmens surveyed are those who have been reported to have cup marks in previous survey reports. About 110 dolmens among them are actually found to have cup marks. We have inspected them to measure the astronomical directions of the cup marks on the cover stone and the long axes of cover stones. Also inspected are the pattern of the cup mark distribution.

It has been found that the cup marks in the Gyung-Sang (south-east) province tend to be engraved in the south-east section of the cover stone. A Monte-Carlo simulation indicates that this tendency is not an accident but a statistically significant one. We have also found many interesting patterns of cup marks that can be related with constellations. The clearest cases are the Ursa Major, and the Pleiades cluster also appears occasionally." [emphasis added]

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