GGHS 2019 Winter - Team 2

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Dolmen is a typical form of tomb during the Bronze Age. In Korean it literally means "made from the stone". Our team has the chance to introduce wiki readers to Dolmens in Korea and briefly tell you about Korean Ancient History. Here is some information, what our team found about this topic.


No. Team Topic Teacher Role Name (Korean) No. of Students
2 Dolmens of Ganghwa
(강화의 고인돌)
Evgeniia Leader 정가○ 6
Vice-Leader 박진○

Ganghwa and the Dolmen

In our team, main subject is 'Ganghwa and the Dolmen' . And Here sre some deveral topics that our group have investigated.

The Definition of Dolmens

Dolmen is literally a typical form of tomb during the Bronze Age. It means in Korean "Made from stone".

The Types of Dolmens

  • <Takjasing Dolmen or Table Dolmen>

A table dolmen is a type of flat or table-shaped stone made of three or four large well-crafted stone bricks, composed of ' ㄷ' or 'ㅁ' letters on the ground, laid flat on top of it, and placed on top of it with a huge stone. Few burial objects have been found because the tomb was exposed to the ground and it is likely that the tomb was robbed early. [1] [2]

  • <Gibansik Dolmen or Underground Dolmen>

It is called the "Sam style high mandol" or "Baduk style mandol." A tomb compartment is constructed underground and has three or four or more tombstones between it and the cover stone. Usually, they are distributed in places where large covering stones are easy to obtain and easy to transport, with no fixed format. [4]

  • <Gaesoksik dolmen or Graveyard dolmen>

It is a dolmen type that is covered directly with a lid on a graveyard. Unlike other dolmen, have an ritual function. These dolmens were used as altars for years. [6]

Comparison of Dolmen in Asia and Europe

The pattern of dolmen varies from region to region, but commonly those has similar table-looking-shape. In Asia, including Korea, is characterized by a single stone tomb with a one covering stone. In Western Europe, it has a series of stone props under and on top of them, there are many covering stones, in other word, it has similar looking with a tunnel or corridor inside. In Korea, it is common to bury only one person, but in Europe, dozens of bodies were buried in one graveyard such as a family graves. According to this The european dolmen could unify the whole community through their connected family's tombs.

The Process Of Making Dolmens

Select useful stones for Dolmen

Use round logs to move the heavy stones to a certain area where they will build dolmen

Build pedestal with stones and pile up the soil.

Put a covering stone on and remove the soil.


The Role of Dolmen

Although there were many controversies over the function of the dolmen on the Korean Peninsula, it was confirmed in 1967 that the stone was made for the purpose of the tomb when the complete human bones were discovered at Hwangseok-ri Dolmen in Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province.

However, some argue that dolmens had only a function of the tomb. Although there is no objection to the fact that the dolmens in some cases functioned as a tomb, some believe that the stone was made as a function of an altar or tombstone in addition to the tomb. Claiming the function of the altar, the table dolmen might have served as an altar rather than a tomb, accourding to the fact that they are located higher than the surrounding area so that people can easily see, and the appearance of grandeur on the pedestal, and the structure of the pedestal, which is difficult to form a tomb. Moreover, in the case of a group of dolmen, sometimes the dolmen can be seen to be unusually large or different in direction than other dolmen, which is presumed to be a simple function that was built to reveal the authority and prestige of the tomb-building group.

Dolmen construct culture starts to dissipate with the beginning of the iron age, but dolmens still played the role of one of the legendary symbolic icons in our fairytales or in bedtime stories. Also dolmens have been remained as one of the popular objects for worship until Joseon Dynasty. Dolmens also called Chilsung Stone and Turtle Stone, because dolmens` form is similar to turtle’s back. In town, they had Dang-san-je like a Religious celebration and for the dolmen inside of their house, they prayed with just a bowl of water which we call Jeonghwasu (kor. 정화수), wishing it could bring a luck to their family. As they thought Dolmens as religious and mystery icon during Joseon Dynasty they couldn’t even think of any damage to be get tp the dolmens. [9]

Dolmens in Bugeun-ri, Ganghwa

On July 11, 1964, it was designated as Historic Site No.137 It belongs to a large group of northern-style dolmen discovered so far, which is 2.6 meters high on the ground and the size of a covering stone is 7.1 meters long and 5.5 meters wide, and consists of granite. The number of dolmen in the vicinity of the area is 10 and nine are included in the World Heritage except for the one not designated as 128. It is located in front of the village hall in Daechon-Burak, and there are only four more U.S. troops left. The pedestal has only two long stones, approximately north and south. There have been several surface surveys so far, but no academic excavation has been conducted yet. There is another destroyed dolmen next to the dolmen, which is gone and only the lid of the stone remains vertical. In addition, there are about 10 North and South flats left in Ganghwado Island, including Samgeori and Hadori.[10]

Why There Are Many Dolmen In Ganghwa

About 30,000 dolmens on the Korean Peninsula are 40 percent of the world's population. Among them, about 150 dolmen are located on Ganghwado Island. Why did so many dolmen come to Ganghwa? First, Ganghwado Island had a favorable geographical advantage to make dolmen. Many groups were formed because the abundant mountains and water made it easier to farm and live, and many dolmen were formed. Secondly, Ganghwado Island had a large number of rocks that were advantageous in making dolmen. The large number of rocks such as granite and polar rock were distributed, so it was easy to get them from other areas to make dolmen. [11] Further more Dolmens, which are found worldwide, are concentrated in coastal areas, and Dolmen in inland areas are seemed they have been built far more later than dolmen in coastal areas, so the dolmen culture is believed to have spread inland along the coast.[12]

The Worth Of Dolmens In Ganghwa

The Economic Value of Dolmens

Currently, Ganghwa-gun is strengthening the tourism system by reusing the Dolmen site, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as a festive space. As a result, the value of the Dolmen site is being raised, and as the city was designated as a tourist city in 2018, many tourists are attracting and benefiting from the economic benefits. [13]

The Historic Value of Dolmens

Dolmen are found all over the world, but many are found in Northeast Asia. Korea has so many dolmen that it is called the Dolmen Kingdom. There are 30,000 dolmen in South Korea and 15,000 dolmen in North Korea. This is equivalent to 40 percent of the world's dolmen. Although Korea has dolmen in many parts of the country, especially in the Honam region, Dolmen relics from Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa are listed as world heritage and are in such good condition that they are used as clues to the formation and development of Dolmen. Dolmen is also a giant stone culture, which is an important value in prehistoric sites. Dolmen itself is an important cultural heritage, but since various Bronze Age artifacts are also buried in tombs, it is very valuable for studying prehistoric history in Korea as well as in the world.


Bugeunri Dolmen in Gnaghwa

Ganghwa History Museum


  1. 탁자식 고인돌 (문화원형백과)
  2. 고인돌 유적 (네이버캐스트)
  3. 탁자식고인돌 (고고학사전)
  4. 기반식고인돌 (고고학사전)
  5. 기반식 고인돌 (문화원형백과)
  6. 북 문화 유산4부 세계의 보물 (개인 블로그)
  7. 개석식 고인돌 (문화원형백과)
  8. 고인돌을 만드는 세상 (학생백과)
  9. 고인돌 유적의 보존과 활용정책에 관한 연구 : 세계문화유산 고창·화순·강화를 중심으로 (RISS)
  10. 강화부근리고인돌군 (한국민족문화대백과사전)
  11. 강화역사박물관
  12. The Introduction of Bronze Age culture to the Namhan through Dolmen (RISS)
  13. 역사문화유적지 매력속성이 방문객의 만족과 방문 후 행동의도에 미치는 영향 (DBpia Journal)
  14. 고인돌 (두산백과)