Dolmens are large burial monuments, which are numerous in Asia, Europe and North Africa. Korea has the greatest number of dolmens in the world. These are of great archaeological value for the information, they provide on the prehistoric peoples who erected them and their social and political systems, beliefs and worship rituals, arts and celebrations and other secrets.
Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolman Sites have the highest density and variety of dolmens in Korea.
People marvel at not only their numbers but also the diverse types; the table type, known as the northern type, the go-board type, known as the southern type, the capstone type and others. These sites also keep intact evidence of how the stones were quarried, transported, and lifted and of how dolmen types changed over Northeast Asia.
Dolmens have been erected in Korea from 1000 B.C. to the dawn of the first millenium. They straddled a long span of ancient history, varying by time and region. Korea seems to have flourished the most with regard to erecting various dolemens in Northeast Asia, judging from the great density of dolmens found here.
With growing awareness of the importance of dolmens, the central government and local governments have designated dolmen sites as historic sites or provincial monuments, and performed precise geographical and topographical surveys and scientific excavations. Those efforts to explore the dolmens sites archaeologically are done in accordance with the environmental concerns.
Gochang Dolmen Site (8.38ha)
The Jungnim-ri dolmens, the largest and the most diversified group of dolmens in Korea, are located in the center of the village of Maesan. Most of them are located at altitudes of 15-50m along the southern foothills of the mountain that runs from East to West. The heights of the capstones of the dolmens range from 1m to 5.8m based on their shape.
Hwasun Dolmen Site (31ha)
Like those found in the Gochang group, the Hwasun dolmens are located on the slopes of hills, along the Jiseokgang River. Each dolmen in this area is less intact than those found in Gochang. The Hyosan-ri group is estimated to be comprised 158 monuments and the Daesin-ri group has 129 dolmens. In many cases, the stone outcroppings can be identified.
Ganghwa Dolmen Sites (12.27ha)
This site is found on Ganghwa Island, on the slope of a mountain. The dolmens tend to be higher than those found in the other two sites and seem to have been erected much earlier. wha.
Justification for Inscription:
Criterion iii The global prehistoric technological and social phenomenon that resulted in the appearance in the 2nd and 3rd millennia BCE of funerary and ritual monuments constructed of large stones (the “Megalithic Culture”) is nowhere more vividly illustrated than in the dolmen cemeteries of Koch’ang, Hwasun, and Kang