Advanced well filtering technique of Koguryo people

August 13, 2023

From olden times, people used spring water mainly as household water, and in places where there were no springs, they dug wells and obtained drinking water.

When the ground is dug to a depth where the groundwater layer is located, water gathers into the well and fills up. The groundwater at a depth of up to 10 metres meets the standards for domestic water.

The well at the Jongnung Temple site near the Mausoleum of King Tongmyong, Rimhung-dong wells Nos. 1 and 2 and other wells from the period of Koguryo (277 BC-AD 668), which have been unearthed so far, are approximately 10 metres deep in general.

The Koguryo people used the groundwater for domestic purposes after filtering it again.

The two Koguryo wells (Nos. 1 and 2) discovered in the Rimhung-dong area, Taesong District, Pyongyang, were made by tamping gravel, sand and mud at the base, placing a square wooden frame on it and laying well-cut stones to build the wall. The back of the wall was compacted with clay and stone to adhere closely to the earth.

This prevented surface runoff and water used around the well from penetrating directly through the well wall and, at least, ensured that the water was primarily filtered as it passed through the earth down to the well’s depth and reached the groundwater layer.

Therefore, groundwater only seeped up into the well after going through the bottom of the well, which was compacted with gravel, sand and clay.

In the course of excavation, the researchers noticed a large amount of groundwater seepage after breaking the compacted layer at the bases of wells Nos. 1 and 2 in Rimhung-dong.

Ri Kwang Hui, head of a department of the History Faculty of Kim Il Sung University, said that the excavation helped understand that Koguryo people filtered the groundwater from the well again before using it and clarify the use of wooden frames needed for washing, and thus proved the technique of water-quality improvement in the well.

The Archaeology Society of the DPRK recognized that the remains and relics in Rimhung-dong dating back to the period of Koguryo were of great academic significance. The non-permanent tangible heritage assessment committee evaluated the sites and registered Koguryo wells Nos. 1 and 2 in Rimhung-dong on the list of preserved sites.



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