Meanings of Dolmens

The dolmen groups are distributed centeried around Maesan Village, Gochang and expand 1,764 meters from east to west.

Maesan Village has the background of the mountain ranges extending from the peak of Hwasalbong Peak (at 400 meters above sea level) toward the southwestern direction, like a bow with an upstream portion of the Jujin River, and the Gojang Stream running across. The mountains behind the village have a saddle-shaped topography and on its west Seomteulbong Peak (158.6 meters above sea level) is located, where the fortress was built during the Three Kingdoms’ Period.

Three dolmens were discovered around Jungrim-ri and Sanggap-ri in 1965 by the National Museum. Site inspection conducted for the next three months, majorly organized by Jeollabuk-do Government and Wonkwang University revealed 447 more dolmens. It adds up to 550 dolmens identified, including 108 that are destroyed or buried. However, when adding the ones destroyed before the site inspection, it was assumed to have had around 1,000 dolmens.

It is vast, not only in number but also in form. The table type of dolmens is called the northern style. Several stone walls were exposed having the ground stone box type and northern style appearance, like a grid pattern. Various types are distributed, and the origins and characteristics of dolmens in Korea are valuable in identifying the transitions and the history of dolmens in Northeast Asia. In that sense, dolmen remains in and around Jungrim-ri and Sanggap-ri can be the center of the great stone cultures of the East.

Such distribution and concentration cannot be found in other regions in Korea, and it is also the highest density around the globe, and therefore provides essential data to study forms of tombs in the Bronze Age on the Korean Peninsula, and allows the discovery of the psychology, society, and tombs of the time.

The dolmen remains found in Gochang-gun were tombs to bury the dead of the times and the methods to build a dolmen with such big stones, and the technologies and its concentration in a region have been considered to be a mysterious yet important fact.

Dolmen remains in Jungrim-ri and Sanggap-ri are the products of large stone cultures and their concentration in a certain area makes it not only cultural assets of Korea but also the world.