Packaging and Loading Methods of Goryeo Dynasty Ceramics Excavated Underwater

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Packaging and Loading Methods of Goryeo Dynasty Ceramics Excavated Underwater


A total of 17 underwater excavations have taken place in Korea. Out of these 14 of them yielded Goryeo Dynasty (AD918~1392) artefacts and in 8 cases remains of the shipwreck itself was also discovered. These are clear examples showing the active maritime exchange of the Goryeo Dynasty. These ships are conjectured to have been travelling to Gaegyeong (the capital city of Goryeo) with private and/or public purposes. Similar to underwater excavations in other countries, most of the excavated artefacts are ceramics. This paper focuses on the packaging and loading methods of the Goryeo period ships that have been excavated.

Taeanseon was discovered at Daeseom Island, Taean, Chungcheongnam-do Province, and was loaded with a large number of ceramics. Taeanseon was buried in an east-west axis and the shipwreck was tilted 95° to the south. 4 columns were found which are conjectured to be the outer plates of the ship. The ceramics were loaded at the bow and stern of the ship and the central part was the living compartment of the sailors. Due to the impact made whilst the ship was sinking, ceramics were found scattered in the central part. However the ceramics loaded in the bow and stern sections of the ship were preserved intact. Also the ceramics were packed in a way to prevent shattering utilizing wooden sticks and glue.

Similarities and differences in packaging and loading methods to Taeanseon can be found in other ships such as the Shibidongpadoseon, Wandoseon, and Madoseon No. 1. Also the methods are different from the ones found on the Chinese shipwreck of Sinanseon. This article aims to analyze and compare the packaging and loading methods of the ships.


Soon Seok Yang


November 2011


Underwater Excavation & Conservation Division, National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage, KOREA.


Yang_soon_seok paper.pdf


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