Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Preservation of battlefields

Ran across something about a Wal-Mart and a battlefield today:
Preservation issues -- such as the one going on with Wal-Mart and the Wilderness battlefield -- are going to become only more contentious in coming years as suburban sprawl and economic development collide with once-rural Civil War battlefields.
It often comes down to a matter of money vs. history.
It got me thinking about how battlefields might just be beginning to be encroached in America but with Korea having less than 3% of the total land mass of America, this problem has surely been addressed time after time in Korea's population dense nation, right? What is the future of the Korean War's Iron Triangle or the Punch Bowl? The field where the Battle of Gapyong seems to be doing fine but when will that change? Hell, the whole DMZ for that matter... These are just within the last sixty years, though. I can't imagine old Koguryo-era battlefields and what they look like today. Curiously, I can't seem to find any land battle markers that predate the Korean War. Obviously hundreds exist but my internet search skills seem to be failing me at the moment. Any help from the peanut gallery? Any Japanese invasion fields I should know about? 삼국시대 battlefields?

I suppose the obvious answer has always been to bulldoze and build over any significant piece of land regardless of its past save for a few that have gone incidentally untouched. It is nice to find a particularly old timey gate being restored in its original location.


bluelake said...

Interesting. Actually, it's been something I've been concerned with for years. My main area of study--신미양요, the 1871 US-Korea military action--involves historic areas that are either being changed or ignored. To name a few, the hill west of the Sondolmok Fortress (손돌목돈대) on Ganghwa Island, Jakyak Island (작약도) and hills on Ganghwa Island are in danger. The first was where the U.S. forces made their charge on the fortress on June 11, 1871; however, there is a possibility relevant historical preservation groups may survey it in the near future. The second is where both France and the U.S. made their anchorage in 1866 and 1871, respectively; three American servicemen were interred on the island. The third is where the U.S. had artillery placed to cover the U.S. line of march and to fire on the main fortress; at least one artillery site was excavated and now has a building placed on it.

Matthew Smith said...

@bluelake - I'll be sure to read up on 신미양요. I appreciate you bringing this up as it is a subject I'm not terribly familiar with but am interested in.

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