Coins from Song Dynasty unearthed in South Korea
Evidence of close ties since ancient times
Published: Jan 30, 2023 09:24 PM
Photo: Screenshot

Photo: Screenshot

Twenty ancient coins from ­China's Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) were unearthed at a temple on South Korea's Jeju Island on Thursday. The discovery is evidence of the cultural exchanges and trade that have existed between China and the Korean Peninsula since ancient times.

The South Korean Institute of Cultural Relics announced that 20 coins, as well as a copper tower, were unearthed at the temple. According to local media reports on Sunday, the coins can be divided into three groups based on the four character inscriptions minted on their surface - Xianping Yuanbao, Huangsong Tongbao and Zhiping Yuanbao. Based on these inscriptions, which indicate the period of time during which they were minted, archaeologists theorize the temple may have been built during the early or middle 11th century. 

The new discovery demonstrates the long history of exchanges between China and the Korean Peninsula, Lü Chao, an expert on Korean Peninsula issues at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Lü noted that the Northern Song Dynasty coins are important materials for researching the history of the two countries' cultural and economic exchanges.

The close ties between the two nations can be reflected by other historical and cultural relics as well, Wang Junsheng, a research fellow for East Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.

"The similar traditions and cultural heritages of China and South Korea are important parts of the two countries' people-to-people exchanges," Wang said. "The archaeological discovery is beneficial to the development of the two countries' relations and further exchanges."

The cultural exchanges between China and South Korea have been on the rise recently, leading to an increase in diverse cultural activities being held, as well as the introduction of each other's TV shows and films on the small and big screens in both countries.

In addition to the coins, archaeologists also unearthed a model of a multi-story pagoda in the temple ruins. The pagoda is only the size of an adult's fist. 

These are not the only ­Chinese cultural relics discovered in South Korea. Several Chinese relics, including ancient coins and porcelain works, were found in the waters off the coast of a South ­Korean island in November 2020.

A giant stone found in the waters off the coast of Jeju Island once belonged to an ancient Chinese merchant boat around 900 years ago. The stone, which is 3.1 meters long and weighs 586 kilograms, was mainly used as an anchor for mooring the ship. Besides the discovery, three other stones for mooring ships have been found.