Abstract – Jars of the 12th-13th Century Koryeo Dynasty Excavated from Korean Shipwrecks

Jars of the 12th-13th Century Koryeo Dynasty Excavated from Korean Shipwrecks

Young-Hwa Jung


From 2009 to 2011, NRIMCH excavated three shipwrecks (Mado Wooden ship No.1, 2, 3) from the Mado Sea area in Taean. Of the shipments on shipwrecks, more than 100 potteryjars were excavated.The study revealed the use, capacity, and usage of jars made by the people of the Goryeo Dynasty.

Two types of jars were found on the shipwreck, one large pottery used as a water jar and the other used as a carrying jar for carrying and storing cargo. Some of the shipping jars were hung with wooden tablets with written the recipient and the type of cargo, written that it contained fish, crab, and abalone salted fish. Scientific analysis revealed that most of the contents of the jar, which did not have wooden tablets, were of the type of salted fish.

One of the important contents of the study of the Mado shipwreck of jars is capacity. Of the total 103 pottery jars, the complete form was measured directly, and the broken and excavated material was measured using a 3D computer program.

As a result, the water jar reaches 170 liters. Even though there were differences in the shape of the cargo containers jars, most were three kinds, 18 ℓ, 10 ℓ, and 4 ℓ. It was confirmed that the pottery jars of Goryeo Dynasty was made with a certain capacity from the production process, Capacity standards were based on national metrology standards.

NRIMCH also found out how to use pottery jars from the Goryeo dynasty through jars excavated from a Mado shipwrecks. The jars were filled with objects, covered with wooden lids, and completely sealed with veneer straw and reeds. It also wrapped the jars with straw-like herbaceous plants to prevent it from breaking when placed on the ship. Inside the ship, the jars was shipped around the mast, the safest place.

In the meantime, Goryeo dynastyceramics research in Korea has been focused on the celadon. The pottery sector has been mainly focused on identifying the shape of the bowl, the method of production, and the place of production. However, the study of pottery jars of Mado shipwrecks is meaningful in that they revealed how much people in the Goryeo Dynasty put in the jars and how they were used.


WEST SEA Cultural Heritage Division,

National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage, Republic of Korea

Young-Hwa Jungis a Researcher & Conservation Scientist of Underwater Cultural Heritagein the WEST SEA Cultural Heritage Division(2017s-present) & Underwater Excavation & Conservation Division(2002s-2017s)of the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural HeritageofSouth Korea. He is conservationthe wooden ships and ceramicsexcavated in underwater.He completedhis PhD in 2008 atKongju National University. He has been involved in several maritime research projects including: Analysis of Manufacturing Technology and Production Area of Underwater Excavations Ceramics(2005-present),Exploration Project of Underwater Cultural Heritage by the EOS3D-A(3D Seismic Survey System),Development Project of Underwater Cultural Heritage Research Technology Using Crabster CR200,Development Project of Underwater Cultural Heritage Exploration Techniques Underwater Archaeology Vessel ‘NURIAN(G/T 290ton)’ Ship building,Underwater Cultural Heritage Preservation Policy in Korea.