[Our Museums] Journey to the Paleolithic era at Jeongok Prehistory Museum

YEONCHEON, Gyeonggi Province --- Situated on a prehistoric site of Jeongok-ri in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province, the Jeongok Prehistory Museum stands as a testament to the prehistoric heritage of Korea, inviting visitors on a journey through time.

The museum officially opened to the public in April 2011 on the wider Jeongok-ri site, which was designated Historic Site No. 268 in 1979.

The site first became known to the world in 1978, when Greg Bowen, a US airman stationed in South Korea, accidentally spotted a Paleolithic-era hand ax while on a stroll near the Hantan River.

The Acheulian-like hand ax, a double-sided blade, garnered significant attention as the first discovery of its kind in East Asia. The ax is on display at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul.

Over the next two decades, numerous tools such as hand axes, hunting stones, cleavers, picks, scrapers and blades were unearthed at the site. Extensive research and ongoing excavations confirmed that the Jeongok-ri site dates back to at least 350,000 years ago.

Consequently, the Jeongok-ri prehistoric site is seen as one of the most important sites of Paleolithic culture in East Asia and a crucial research site for scholars.