Remains of incomplete royal tomb found in South Korea

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The remains of an incomplete royal tomb were found in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province. The remains were previously assumed to be the royal tomb of King Shinmun or Queen Sodeok of Silla. As a result of excavation, however, they are more likely to be the tomb of King Hyoseong (?-742), the second son of King Seongdeok. It is also considered that the Silla Dynasty had the custom to prepare a king’s tomb before the death.

Remains of incomplete royal tomb found in South Korea
Aerial view of the incomplete royal tomb found in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province
[Credit: The Dong-a Ilbo]

Seonglim Cultural Property Research Center, which is leading the excavation, said Thursday that it found the remains of stones, structure site, wall, road and roof tiles with inscription used for the royal tomb at the excavation site located 135 meters from the Three-story Stone Pagoda at Hwangbok Temple Site. According to the Center, the tomb construction was suddenly halted, considering that the burial mound and stone chamber were not constructed yet on the north-eastern tomb site.

According to Samguk Sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms), the body of King Hyoseong, who was on the throne for only five years, was cremated per his wishes. Professor Lee Han-sang of Daejeon University (Department of Archaeology) mentioned the possibility that the construction of the royal tomb, which had begun while King Hyoseong was alive, was halted due to the cremation.

Author: Sang-Un Kim | Source: The Dong-a Ilbo [February 10, 2017]

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