Korea Wants Dolmens and Kyongju Namsan Declared World Heritage SitesThe Bureau of Cultural Properties (BCP) announced on March 2 that it will try to have dolmens in Kochang, Hwasoon, and on Kwanghwa Island placed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)'s World Heritage List.
Dolmens are two or more large upright stones separated by a space and capped by an equally large horizontal stone. They are regarded as tomb-sites.
The BCP had formed a special Cultural Committee to select candidates for UNESCO's World Heritage List, and on February 25 they made this decision.
Kyongju Namsan (Southern Mountain in Kyongju), which was designated Historic Site No. 311, is an open-air museum that has many Buddhist statues and pagodas from the ancient Shilla Dynasty.
Dolmens in Korea have been regarded as a key to solving the origin and development of the megalithic culture.
The dolmens in Kochang are regarded as the world's best preserved, in terms of diversity and quantity.
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee will decide whether or not to approve them as World Heritage Sites in February 2000.
UNESCO's World Heritage Sites currently number 582 as of December 1998, including five in South Korea. Kyongju's Sokkuram Grotto including the Pulguksa Temple was designated in 1995; Haeinsa Temple's Changgyong P'ango in 1995; Chongmyo Shrine in 1995; Changdokkung Palace Complex in 1997; and the Hwasong Fortress which was also officially declared as a World Heritage Site in 1997.