A petition for a prove into the Legoland Project has been posted in the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea with the issues of destroying historic sites and a secret agreement to reduce rental income, following the controversy over the waste of tax and unfair contract.
On July 24, VANK, the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, said in a press release that the petition has been launched for the thorough investigation of the National Assembly on the issues related to the historic site in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do Province.
The petition is for three issues regarding the Legoland Project – △even though the score of preservation of original state of the Jungdo assests was very high with 91.77 points – its standard is 76 points -, it has not been preserved △the problems occurred during the process of excavation have not been properly managed and △the thorough investigation should be conducted for the construction process of the Legoland.
The petition will be submitted if more than 100,000 people sign for it within the period of 30 days through the National Assembly’s petition website. After that, the petition will be transfered to the relevant committee based on its contents where makes a decision if the petition needs to be discussed in the plenary session or discard it after reviewing it.
The VANK emphasized that the Jungdo, located in the Uiam Lake in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do Province, is a massive prehistoric site with relics and remains that will help research the prehistoric history of the Republic of Korea between late Bronze Age and early Iron Age.
“After several excavations, a total of 3,330 remains – 1 of Ditch from the Bronze Age, 1,423 of residential areas, and 166 of tombs including dolmens – and the Ditch – defensive ditch surrounding the village – have been found in the Jungdo, which considered the area as an ancient planned city. But during the process of developing the Legoland, the remains have been seriously damaged” they added.
After quoting from Lutz Fiedler, an archaeology professor at the University of Marburg, Germany, saying “not only does each remain have its value, but each and every structure and system excavated there reflect a high level of culture and they should not be damaged under any circumstances”, the VANK stressed that the National Assembly should conduct the thorough investigation on the sites and try to preserve them globally recognized for their archaeological value.
The VANK also launched an international petition urging UNESCO and its member states to take part in the preservation of the Jungdo site in Chuncheon.
Purpose of petition
Jungdo, located in the Uiam Lake in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do Province, is a massive prehistoric site with relics and remains that will help research the prehistoric history of the Republic of Korea between late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. Jungdo has become a treasure trove of prehistoric sites after the Hard-plain Pottery was found around 1977. After several excavations, a total of 3,330 remains – 1 of Ditch from the Bronze Age, 1,423 of residential areas, and 166 of tombs including dolmens – and the Ditch – defensive ditch surrounding the village – have been found in the Jungdo, which considered the area as an ancient planned city. But, in 2008, the company of Lego announced the plan to build the world’s largest “Legoland” in Jungdo, Chuncheon. After hosting 『Legoland』 in 2011, they have developed Jungdo for developing Legoland for 9 years, and the historic site has severely damaged by that. Out of the whole remains found in Jungdo, The Cultural Heritage Administration and Gangwon-do Province decided to preserve just the area of Ditch(enclosure) from the Bronze Age and parts of them from the Iron Age and the Three Kingdom Period. The Gangwon Jungdo Development Corporation, which is in charge of its project, planned to make two historic parks of the Bronze Age and Three Kingdom Period, and an exhibition hall to move and display the excavated remains. However, it means that around 30 dolmens, which is less than one-hundredth of the 3,300 remains that have been excavate, will be relocated and restored to the historic park. In addition, there are problems because the project is being implemented without following many conditions. As a result, we demand the National Assembly to investigate the following details about the Jungdo remains.
Details of petition
We demand the investigation regarding the fact that development has been continued without preservation of the Jungo remains even though its score of preservation of original state was very high with 91.77 points – its standard is 76. Article 5 of the Store Cultural Heritage Act related to the excavation of cultural assets states that those who intend to plan and implement development projects, such as the state and local governments, should ensure that the cultural properties are not damaged, and also that the developers should immediately stop the construction when they find the cultural assets. In the case of Jungdo, because it has been known that there are the cultural assets since 1970s, it was obvious that they would be damaged if the area is developed. But the development has been proceeded for the purpose of building Legoland. Also, due to the high score of preservation of original state, the site should be preserved, but the construction is still ongoing.
We demand the investigation regarding the fact that the problems occurred during the process of excavation have not been properly managed. It was difficult to conduct the excavation on all parts, because the cost of excavation was reduced by about half. In addition, follow-up management for excavated relics and remains has been inappropriate. The excavated dolmens are classified as ‘Japseok’, which means the miscellaneous stones in Korean, and stored in bags, making it difficult to restore them in other places. Moreover, some of the remains have been damaged such as changes in the outlines due to the suspension of the excavation for a while without proper methods to protect the excavated ones. In this regard, we requested the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to make protective measures, and also the Cultural Heritage Administration to present explanatory documents, but have not received proper answers.
We demand the investigation regarding the problems occurred during the construction process of Legoland. In the Jungdo area, it is approved that Legoland can be built in the whole area only except the place where the Ditch is located. The developer received the approval with the plan to minimize damage of the historic site that the area would be covered by 2.5 meters of soil and build Legoland using special methods of construction. However, Shim Jae-yeon, a professor at the Institute of Archaeology at Hallym University, said that both special and general methods of construction will damage the remains, and the only way to preserve them is to levitate. In addition, according to the article, the excavation report for the development of Legoland showed that the current Legoland waterway is being built on top of the historical site. Asking about this problem, we received the response from the person in charge, saying that there is no damage to the remains. The area where the waterway is being constructed is a ‘Zone H and Circular road site’, where the relics and remains are densely distributed. Moreover, in order to continue the construction, the developer had to make 1 meter of protection layer on the upper part of the remains, but they violated the regulation of soil cover and damaged the remains by filling up miscellaneous stones instead of fine sand, making the construction suspend.
Lutz Fiedler, an archaeology professor at the University of Marburg, Germany, said about the Jungdo remains, “not only does each remain have its value, but each and every structure and system excavated there reflect a high level of culture and they should not be damaged under any circumstances”. However, as mentioned above, there are many problems with this sites. At the National Assembly level, please conduct thorough investigations on the Jungdo remains and make efforts to preserve them recognized for their archaeological value worldwide.