Koguryo tomb unearthed in N Korea

North Korea has unearthed a large Koguryo mural tomb dating back to the fifth century.

Updated: Aug 16, 2010, 08:51 AM IST

Pyongyang: North Korea has unearthed a large Koguryo mural tomb dating back to around the fifth century, a development archaeologists said will shed light on
folk culture, customs and cultural exchanges in ancient East Asia.

Kyodo News sent a team of journalists and scholars to Pyongyang recently and conducted joint research on the Tongsan-dong mural tomb in the capital`s Raknang district with the Archaeological Institute of North Korea`s Academy of Social Sciences.

The research teams found mural paintings and more traces on the ceiling and walls of the tomb, which consists of a passage, approach, front chamber and its two annexes,
connecting passage, and back chamber.

It was the first time that Japan and North Korea had conducted full-scale joint academic research. It was also the first discovery of a mural tomb from the center of the former
Raknang region of the Koguryo dynasty, which ruled from the northern part of the Korean Peninsula to the southern part of northeastern China from the latter part of the first century BC to AD 668.

North Korea plans to designate the tomb, an underground-style earth-covered stone tomb, a national treasure and file an application with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for it to be recognized as a World Heritage site.
A layer of mud covering the tomb`s interior made it difficult for the teams to clearly see the murals. But among the paintings confirmed were those of a man with a horn-like
hat riding a horse, a procession of men on armored horses with flags, and a sword-carrying man believed to be a gatekeeper warrior.
If all the murals are identified, the tomb will likely become as valuable as the Tokhung-ri mural tomb, a World Heritage site in Nampho, in providing historical material,
according to Japanese experts.