It will be a while before the remains of Jeju 4.3 victims are returned to their families. On Oct. 30, the Jeju 4.3 Peace Foundation held the “Report on the Excavation of 4.3 Victims’ Remains at Jeju International Airport and Dodu-dong“ and announced that they could not find pits of remains or relics at the airport after the third excavation.
Since July, the Jeju Archaeological Institute had been working on the third excavation at three points near Jeju Airport’s South-North airstrip. Three locations were selected based on witness accounts and GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) investigations. It was hoped these locations would be where the remains from the massacres were buried.
▲ Photo by Kim Hungku
At Points 1 and 2-1, no remains were found before the archaeologists hit bedrock. At Point 1 near Moedongsan, they found one warhead but it was intact, meaning it was likely to be a dud or something that was mixed in during the landfill construction process. No remains or relics were found at point 2 despite the dig going 12 meters deep before hitting bedrock.
The other areas where it is though remains may lie are not at a safe distance from the runway. This means it will likely be difficult to carry out further excavations at the airport.
Excavations in Dodo-dong had more success. Here, diggers found the remains of four victims: an adult woman (No. 1), an adult man (No. 2), a teenager (No. 3), and an infant (No. 4). The remains had different levels of preservation. The skull and both arms and legs of No. 1 were still intact. Meanwhile, the skull and leg of No. 2 were intact. All that was found of No.3 and 4 was the skull.
The Institute explained that the remains of No. 1 correspond to witness accounts that said remains were buried there after coming from the direction of the airport. Whether the remains were actually removed from the massacre burial within Jeju International Airport must still be confirmed. Also, there is the possibility that the remains are from a separate massacre area in Dodu-dong.
▲ Photo by Kim Hungku
The Institute said, “It will be confirmed through forensic analysis, but some suggest that the remains are from the ‘Dombakgothom’ massacre site near Dodu-dong. A site that was confirmed by Jeju 4.3 Peace Foundation’s additional investigation.”
The four remains found in Dodu-dong were moved to the Jeju 4.3 Peace Foundation following a memorial ceremony and a funeral. The remains will be analyzed at Dong-A University this month and then given a DNA analysis at Seoul National University next year.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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