Metal-type blocks, scientific remains from the 15th-16th centuries discovered

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SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) – About 1,600 movable metal type blocks from the 15th and 16th centuries, including the first Korean type pieces, have been unearthed in downtown Seoul, heritage authorities said on Tuesday.

The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) also announced the discovery of copper objects believed to be part of an astronomical clock and a water clock produced in the early Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

The treasure trove of scientific treasures was unearthed at Insa-dong, known to be a commercial and cultural center of the capital during the Joseon era.

The metallic-type blocks – around 1,000 Chinese letters and around 600 Korean letters – include those believed to have been produced in the mid-1400s when King Sejong created the Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, KMA said.

“The types of blocks come in various sizes and shapes. Most of them were found intact, but some were melted down in a fire and glued together,” said a heritage agency official.

This is the first time that a pile of boulders of different types of metals from the early Joseon era have been unearthed at the same time at the same site.

We know that there are only about thirty blocks of the metallic type produced before the Japanese invasion of Joseon in 1592. The blocks which would have been produced around 1455 are kept in the National Museum of Korea.

The find also includes a copper artifact believed to be a component of one of the two royal palace water clocks, each created in 1438 and 1536.

The agency also unearthed copper objects believed to be part of an astronomical clock from the mid-15th century. Records show that four such devices called “Ilseongjeongsieui” were produced in 1437, but none of them remain today.

Eight firearms 50 to 60 centimeters long, believed to have been made in 1583 and 1588, and a copper bell produced in 1535 have also been discovered.

All of the relics except the type blocks were found in pieces, the agency said.

“All of the artifacts appear to have been buried together after 1588 and not subsequently used. These are crucial materials that will contribute to our understanding of early Joseon era printing and scientific technology,” the official said. .


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