Excavation Survey

We conduct planned scientific investigations of major prehistoric and historical artifacts,and are responsible for the maintenance and protection of historical sites nationwide,restoration studies, and preliminary investigations of sites that may be of historical importance. We also conduct investigations into important relics about which there are pressing concerns, such as the threat of damage or destruction by a development project or tomb robbery, as well as those that are the subject of civil complaints.

Excavation Surveys of the Silla Royal Capital Relics

Name of Remains Silla Royal Capital Relics to the East of Anapji Pond
Survey Period 2007 ~


The Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage has been conducting excavation surveys of the Silla Royal Capital Relics to the east of Donggung (the Palace of the Crown Prince) and Wolji (also called Anapji Pond) since October 2007. The survey area encompasses the eastern part of the appointed Donggung (the Palace of the Crown Prince) and Wolji (Historic Site, Imhaejeon Hall Site) and as an administrative area is part of 40-plus lots at 22 Inwang-dong, Gyeongju.

This area is the center of the former royal capital, which is dense with historic relics related to Silla royal castles and national temples such as Wolseong Fortress, Hwangnyongsa Temple Site, Bunhwangsa Temple, Guhwangdong garden pond, and the servants’ quarters. Donggung (the Palace of the Crown Prince) and Wolji, to the west of the survey area, is particularly well known for Donggung Palace of the Crown Prince of the Unified Silla period, which includes the Imhaejeon Hall site.

Excavation surveys are being conducted to determine the scale of Donggung Palace, and to shed light on the city construction of the Wanggyeong central area. Relic outcomes of the survey have been shown it to have comprised of building, garden and presumed wall areas connected to Anapji. Following that, it appears that the area of Donggung (the Palace of the Crown Prince) and Wolji was more extensive to the east and north than the currently designated Anapji area.

Additionally, evidence at the survey site that the earliest construction was that of roadways has confirmed that it was an extension of the east-west road that was part of the southern section of one part of the city that had been confirmed from relics of the royal capital east of Hwangnyongsa Temple (S1E1 area), which means it is important evidence for understanding the structure of the planned royal capital of Silla.

See A Related Image

image Panorama of the Survey Area (Northeast to Southwest)
image A view of the No.1 site of buildings after the survey
image The site of No. 1 fence and gates

Excavation Survey of the Wolseong Fortress Moat

Name of Remains The Wolseong Fortress Moat
Survey Period 1984 ~


Surveys of the Wolseong Fortress Moat have been conducted on an annual basis since 1984. The results of the excavations thus far have indicated that during the Three Kingdoms period, when there were many attacks by external aggressors, non-orthogonal moats were constructed along the foundations of the castle walls which used to protected the palace, but after the threat of exterior attack disappeared following the unification of the three kingdoms, the moats were filled in and large buildings erected there to compensate for the confined nature of the palace.

Since 1999, the excavation surveys of Wolseong Fortress Moat have been focused on the stone moat to the north of the Seokbinggo ice storage house.

It has been confirmed that the moat to the north of the castle walls has had two moats located on the northern and northeastern sides of the Seokbinggo ice storage house. They were designated as moat nos. 4 and 5.

It has been confirmed that moat no. 4 consisted of a flat oblong shape, and there are indications that it was constructed with river stones and then sanded down in the second stage of construction.

Because the stonework was about 6-8 meters thick on the inside during the early stages of construction and then stacked again during the second and third stages of construction, it seems that as construction proceeded, the width of the moat diminished from south to north. During the first stage of construction, river stones were used, while cut stones were used for the second stage followed by river stones again for the third stage. It was determined that these stones, which had provided the moat’s basic function of defending against exterior attack, were reused to decorate royal palaces after the end of the Three Kingdoms Period, but subsequently lost even that basic function. Among the relics that have been excavated from the area are earthenware objects, roof tiles, iron wares, wooden lacquer wares, animal bones and shells.

The work of restoring and overhauling of moats Nos. 4 and 5 has been completed. An excavation and survey concerning Wolseong Moat to the north of Woljeonggyo Bridge and to the south of Gyerim is currently under way. A series of moat stones and the site of the building, which date back to time of the Unified Silla, were found during the excavation survey that was carried out in 1984 and 1985.

See A Related Image

image A view of Wolseong
image Panoramic View of Wolseong Fortress Moat Number 4 (Aerial Photography)
image Wolseong Fortress Moat Number 4 Water Entrance (Moat Number 4 on the left)
image Wolseong Fortress Moat Number 4 Lacquerware
image A view of No.5 moat in Wolseong

Excavation Survey of the Jjoksaem Relics

Name of Remains Jjoksaem Relics
Survey Period 2007 ~


The Jjoksaem Silla Tomb Relics were the subject of excavation surveys that began on March 20, 2007 with a ritual of paying homage to the spirits of ancestors in the central part of the designated historic site located in a 545,000㎡ area covering Gyeongju’s Hwangnam-dong, Hwango-dong, and Inwang-dong districts, which are part of the Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Historic Site).

The area around Gyeongju’s Hwango-dong district is known as the largest Silla tomb complex. Using the survey of Cheonmachong Tomb in 1973 and the excavation of Hwangnamdaechong Tomb in 1975 as the basis for further works, the ancient Silla tombs have been partially restored and overhauled, while the area around the Nodongdong and Noseodong tomb complexes, including the Daereungwon burial, mound has been transformed into an ancient tomb complex park.

However, most of the Jjoksaem area has not yet undergone a complete scientific excavation survey. There has been intermittent destruction of many cultural relics due to the development of the inner city area of Gyeongju. What’s more, research on the Silla ancient tombs has tended to rely on the reporting of excavated cultural relics and small-scale excavation surveys, such as the surveys of the Gyerimno and Wolseongno Ancient Tombs, as well as the site of the Hyeopsong Gas Station. This survey, unlike the recovery excavations of the past, has been initiated with a specific scientific objective, and it is hoped that it will revitalize research on the Silla ancient tombs in general, and more particularly their genesis and development, as well as changes in burial ceremonies over time.

See A Related Image

image Jjoksaem District Parorama
image Mokkwangmyo No. C10 Panorama Image
image District F Panorama


International Cultural Heritage Cooperation Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea National Palace Museum of Korea Korea National Commission for UNESCO