The Korea Herald


CHA aims to enshrine petroglyphs of Ulsan Bangucheon as UNESCO World Heritage Site

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : July 14, 2023 - 19:00

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Bangudae in Daegok-ri, Ulju-gun, Ulsan (CHA) Bangudae in Daegok-ri, Ulju-gun, Ulsan (CHA)

Efforts to register petroglyphs at the stream Bangucheon in Ulsan, considered the pinnacle of prehistoric culture on the Korean Peninsula, have officially commenced, the Cultural Heritage Administration announced Thursday.

The decision, made Thursday at the meeting of Cultural Heritage Committee, comes 13 years after it was placed on the CHA's provisional candidates list for UNESCO World Heritage Site registration in January 2010. The final decision had been delayed due to insufficient preservation measures, especially during the annual rainy season when the water level rises, resulting in potential damage to the stone carvings.

The petroglyphs of Bangucheon encompass heritage sites in Ulsan's Ulju-gun, including the Cheonjeon-ri petroglyphs and Bangudae petroglyphs in Daegok-ri, both designated as national treasures.

A petroglyph in Daegok-ri, Ulsan (CHA) A petroglyph in Daegok-ri, Ulsan (CHA)

Discovered in the early 1970s, the Cheonjeon-ri petroglyphs are located on a cliffside near the water level about halfway down the Daegokcheon. The rock is engraved with writing and carvings that vividly depict life from prehistoric times to the Silla Kingdom.

The Daegok-ri petroglyph is engraved on a curved section of the cliff bedrock, measuring 4 meters in height and 10 meters in width. Using lines and dots, the piece provides insight into the lives of prehistoric people through its depiction of various animals and lively hunting scenes.

Meanwhile, the CHA plans to work with the city of Ulsan and relevant authorities to consider installing water gates or other necessary facilities for preservation purposes.

The CHA and city are to submit a draft application for registration to the UNESCO World Heritage Center by September, and the final application will be made in January 2024.

The final decision on the listing will be made in July 2025.