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Royal tombs untouched by grave robbers

17 0 1
By Mark Peterson

The sixth item on my top 10 list of evidence for advocating that Korea has had a peaceful and stable history is the fact that the royal tombs have not been robbed. Royal tombs? There are the tombs of Silla kings surrounding Gyeongju and there are the tombs of the Joseon kings on the outskirts of Seoul. None have been robbed.

I did not realize how unique this situation was until one day a few years ago, when I was leading a group of textbook writers on a fact-finding tour and seminar on Korean history and culture. The seminar lasted about 10 days and began with our host, the Academy of Korean Studies, on the south side of Seoul, before we traveled through Korea looking at major historical sites.

Standing in front of the Oreung complex, the Five Tombs complex in Gyeongju, an archaeologist from the University of Utah named Bradley Parker innocently asked, "When were these tombs robbed?" The question surprised me because I knew the tombs had not been robbed. I knew this because each tomb that they have excavated, about six of them, has contained a Silla crown and a whole host of treasures intact ― not plundered by grave robbers.


© The Korea Times