Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain

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Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain
龍頭山古墓群 (Chinese)
Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain is located in China
Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain
Location within China
Alternate name Rungteousan gobungun
Location Jilin Province
Region Helong
Coordinates 42°44′01″N 129°14′39″E / 42.73353°N 129.24413°E / 42.73353; 129.24413
Type Cemetery
Area 200,000 km2
History
Builder King Mun
Founded 745 CE
Periods 745–926
Cultures Balhae
Site notes
Discovered 1970s
Excavation dates 1980, 1982, 2005
Architecture
Architectural styles Stone cist tumuli
Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 龍頭山古墓群
Simplified Chinese 龙头山古墓群
Korean name
Hangul 룽터우산 고분군
Hanja 龍頭山古墳群

The Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain are the burial sites of twelve royal figures from Balhae. It is located on Longtou Mountain, southeast of Toudao Town (头道镇) in Helong, Jilin Province, China, a region possibly called the "Western Field of the Ran Valley" (染谷之西原) by the Balhae people. The Mausoleum of Princess Jeonghyo is located here.

History[edit]

Construction on the first tombs at Longtou Mountain began sometime after 745, when King Mun moved the Balhae capital city to Junggyeong.[1] The cemetery was in use until the end of the Balhae Kingdom.

The discovery of Princess Jeonghyo's tombstone resolved speculation amongst scholars that the area was the former location of Hyundeok Province (현덕부 顯德府) of the Balhae Kingdom.[1]

The site has been a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level since January 13, 1988. The walls and the murals of the tomb have been covered with anti-corrosive chemicals; at one point the tomb included at least one tower, but it is no longer standing.[2][3]

Excavation[edit]

The first excavations at Longtou Mountain were conducted in 1980 by the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture Museum of Jilin (Chinese: 吉林省延边朝鲜族自治州博物馆). They excavated the Mausoleum of Princess Jeonghyo in the Dragon Sea section. At the same time, members of the museum, in addition to other organisations, conducted a survey of a 7.5 km2 area. Local archaeologists were also invited to conduct test excavations on some of the other tombs, which produced various precious artefacts.[1]

In 1982, the Yanbian Museum excavated seven tombs in the Dragon Sea area. All seven were clustered quite close together, but the tomb rooves had already collapsed. Some tombs cut through older tombs. Two of these tombs contained two people, who had been interred at the same time; four tombs contained two people, who had been interred one after the other; one tomb contained four people, one of whom was first interred, followed by the other three on a separate occasion. In the cases of a secondary burial, the second person was placed on top of the first body's head or feet.[1]

Layout[edit]

There are three burial zones:[2]

  • Dragon Lake (龍湖)
  • Dragon Sea (龍海)
    • The location of Princess Jeonghyo's mausoleum
    • One robbed-out tumulus to the south-east. The inner north, east, and west walls were plastered, but the tomb had collapsed by 2012.[1]
    • 10 burials distributed over terraces to the east of Princess Jeonghyo's burial
  • Stone Kingdom (石國)

Mausoleum of Princess Jeonghyo[edit]

The Mausoleum of Princess Jeonghyo originally had a funerary pagoda made from brick and stone slabs, in addition to a tumulus.[1] Only the pagoda's foundations remain, which show that the pagoda was originally square, measuring 5.50x5.65 m. Below the funerary pagoda and tumulus, the princess' burial comprised an entry passage, tomb entrance, internal passage, and burial chamber. The burial chamber measured 2.10x3.10 m and was built from bricks, with stone slabs forming the roof. There were originally 12 murals depicting people on the rear walls of the internal passage and north, east, and west walls of the burial chamber. The tomb was robbed and the bones of Princess Jeonghyo were scattered around the chamber, but archaeologists recovered her tombstone.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "渤海国文物古迹之龙头山古墓群" [Cultural remains of the Balhae Kingdom:the ancient tombs at Longtou Mountain]. Chamgbai Mountain. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain - Protected National Cultural Artifacts". Archived from the original on 27 August 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Tomb Group of Longtou Mountain". 5 June 2014. Archived from the original on 7 July 2015.