South Korea Seeks UNESCO World Heritage Listing for Ancient Bangudae Petroglyphs | Be Korea-savvy

South Korea Seeks UNESCO World Heritage Listing for Ancient Bangudae Petroglyphs


SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Korea Bizwire) – The South Korean Cultural Heritage Administration has announced the submission of an application to inscribe the “Petroglyphs along the Bangucheon Stream” as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, marking a significant milestone in the preservation and recognition of this historic asset that is seen as the pinnacle of prehistoric culture on the Korean peninsula. 


Located in Ulju County, Ulsan, the Bangudae Petroglyphs encompass the nationally treasured Cheonjeon-ri Petroglyphs and Daegok-ri Bangudae Petroglyphs, which were selected in July last year as candidates for UNESCO World Heritage nomination. 


Discovered in the early 1970s, the Cheonjeon-ri Petroglyphs feature various geometric shapes, letters, and images engraved on rock surfaces. Some inscriptions, presumed to date back to the reign of King Beopheung of Silla (514-540), are considered crucial for studying the society of 6th-century Silla.

The Cultural Heritage Administration plans to rename the national treasure to “Cheonjeon-ri Inscriptions and Petroglyphs” to reflect the significance of these engravings.


The Daegok-ri Petroglyphs, carved into an L-shaped cliff face, vividly depict various animals and hunting scenes using lines and dots, offering a glimpse into the lives of prehistoric people. Unique depictions of whales and whaling are particularly notable for their rarity and cultural significance on a global scale.  

Spanning from the Neolithic to the Silla period, these petroglyphs encapsulate the artistic expressions and cultural shifts of the people living along the southeastern coast of the Korean Peninsula over approximately 6,000 years.

The site is renowned for its unique depictions that capture the creativity of prehistoric people and offering unparalleled evidence of the region’s rock carving traditions.


The nomination dossier submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre will undergo review and evaluation by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) from March of this year until 2025.

If shortlisted, the final decision on the inscription will be made at the 47th session of the World Heritage Committee scheduled for 2025. 

If successful, the Bangudae Petroglyphs will become Korea’s 17th World Heritage Site, joining 15 cultural and two natural heritage sites already recognized.

The Cultural Heritage Administration has pledged to collaborate closely with local governments and relevant ministries to ensure a positive outcome throughout the evaluation process.

Image credit: the Cultural Heritage Administration /

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