X-TU Architects / France
Jeongok Prehistory Museum is located in Jeongok-ri, where East Asia’s first Acheulean hand ax was found in 1979. According to the dramatic story behind the discovery, a senior airman in the US Air Force based in Korea found a stone while out on a date near the Hantangang River in Jeongok-ri. Having studied archeology before stationed in Korea, the senior airman recognized that the stone his girlfriend pickedup was an Acheulean hand ax.
The museum built on the very site, stretches between two hills with a stream in the middle, as if it were a bridge. The exterior of the museum resembles a primitive animal covered in stainless steel. The exterior shines under daylight, and the reflection on the metallic surface moves like waves depending on the viewing angle.
The architect was inspired by the dragons that appear in Korean mythology and reflected this idea when designing the exterior surface. Small punctures of different forms were finished with semi-transparent materials to make them look like dragon scales. At night, the indoor lighting, which is programmed to change direction and brightness, shines through these small holes as if the building were alive.
The museum, standing on a vast field surrounded by mountains and rivers, is a grand sculpture in itself. Particularly in the evening, when the sun starts to fall, the curved metallic exterior of the museum creates a spectacular skyline.
*Acheulean hand axes along with cleavers from the prehistoric era excavated in Jeongok-ri, Yeoncheongun, Gyeonggi-do, are considered representative relics from the Early and Middle Paleolithic Eras of the Korean Peninsula. These axes are generally round and triangular in shape with sharp ends, and have zigzagged blades.
TIP : The Yeoncheon Jeongok-ri Paleolithic Festival is held annually in early May and unfolds a venue where visitors can experience prehistoric cultures from around the world.
Location : 2 Pyeonghwa-ro 443-gil, Jeongok-eup, Yeoncheon-gun, Gyeonggi-do
Telephone : 031-830-5600
How to go : Taxi (10mins) from Exit 1 of Soyosan Station, Subway Line 1
Operating hours : 10:00–18:00 (;Closed on Mondays, Jan 1, and Seollal & Chuseok holidays)
Admission Fees : Free
Archaeological Site in Jeongok-ri
Hantangang Tourist Area
The 1st Tunnel (Sangseung Observation Post)