Silla's cemetery, 'Jjoksaem', miniature of class society

GYEONGJU, South Korea, June 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On last 28, the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage(the GNRICH) released a report that says there was distinction over social status related to Jjoksaem, the cemetery in Gyeongju Wolseong.

The Jjoksaem excavation site, cemetery of Silla royal families and aristocrats, is located in the east of Daereungwon, where Cheonmachong and Hwangnamdaechong are situated, which are the most famous among ancient tombs of Silla.

Unlike tombs of Daereungwon located nearby, these ancient tombs are neglected for a long time, without having been designated as a preservation area.

Because of this, there have been criticisms pointing out that precious cultural heritages have been damaged during the process of building houses or shopping complexes for civilians.

Therefore, the Gyeongju city started "Jjoksaem tomb park construction business" around this area and Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage have undertaken the investigation since 2007.

The Jjoksaem excavation site is acknowledged as an important historic material when understanding the aspect of Silla society.

Unlike Daereungwon, where there are a lot of large tombs more than 30 meters in diameter, most of the tombs in the Jjoksaem excavation site are small and medium sized, about 10 to 20 meters in diameter.

This shows that diverse classes and distinction over social status existed in Silla society.

After the appearance of wooden coffin tombs in the 4th century, "wooden chamber tombs covered by stone and earthen mound" appeared after the Maripgan period (356~514). The power of Silla can be confirmed through gigantic tumulus and fancy tomb furnishings buried in them.

There are various relics excavated from the tombs including water drop-shaped Jewel Beetle decoration made of gilt-bronze, Go stones, mill stones, and breast decorations sewn with gold and silver beads and jades.

After the 6th century, stone chamber tombs were made around Jjoksaem site, and the scale of tombs and the amount of buried relics decreased.

This shows that the tombs no longer function as a symbol of authority after the system of the state was established, including promulgation and the official recognition of Buddhism.

Accordingly, it can be said that it is possible to presume how "Saro state" could ultimately grow into the nation "Silla" in Gyeongju region, through the excavation investigation of Silla tomb of Jjoksaem excavation site.


Source: Silla's cemetery, 'Jjoksaem', miniature of class society