Skip to comments.Ancient 'Ondol' Heating Systems Discovered In Alaska
Posted on 06/26/2007 2:32:13 PM PDT by blam
Ancient 'Ondol' Heating Systems Discovered in Alaska
What are believed to be the world's oldest underfloor stone-lined-channel heating systems have been discovered in Alaska's Aleutian Islands in the U.S. The heating systems are remarkably similar to ondol, the traditional Korean indoor heating system. The word ondol, along with the word kimchi, is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. The ondol heating system is widely recognized as Korean cultural property. According to "Archaeology", a bi-monthly magazine from the American Archaeological Society, the remains of houses equipped with ondol-like heating systems were found at the Amaknak Bridge excavation site in Unalaska, Alaska.
The leader of the excavation, archaeologist Richard Knecht from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, said in an interview with the Chosun Ilbo on Monday that the team began the dig in 2003. Radiocarbon dating shows the remains are about 3,000 years old.
Until now the oldest known ondol heating systems were built 2,500 years ago by the Korean people of North Okjeo in what is now Russia's Maritime Province. The Alaskan ondol are about 500 years older, and are the first ondol discovered outside the Eurasian continent.
Professor Knecht said four ondol structures were discovered at the site. Other ondol structures were found in the area in 1997 but it was not known what they were at the time.
According to Knecht's data, the Amaknak ondol were built by digging a two- to four-meter-long ditch in the floor of the house. Flat rocks were place in a "v" shape along the walls of the ditch, which was then covered with more flat rocks. There was also a chimney to let the smoke out.
Professor Song Ki-ho of the department of Korean history at Seoul National University looked over the Amaknak excavation report. "All ancient ondol are one-sided, meaning the underfloor heating system was placed on just one side of the room. The ondol in Amaknak also seem to be one-sided," he said.
As the ondol of North Okjeo and Amaknak are more than 5,000 kilometers apart, Knecht and Song agree that the two systems seem to have been developed independently.
This theory is backed up by the fact ondol have not been found in areas between the two locations, such as Ostrov, Sakhalin or the Kamchatka Peninsula, and because the Amanak ondol are significantly older than those of the Russian Maritime Province.
That’s so cool! (or hot?)
I’ve spent many a cold night laying on a floor heated by ondol. You had to leave a window open a crack or risk dying of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ondol is one of the things I miss about South Korea. I never had to worry about putting my bare feet on a cold floor if I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night!
Now that they've demonstrated Uralic-Altaic speakers were present in North America, it's a simple matter to show how they got to Southern Indiana.
When I lived in that part of the world, ondol heating was traditional in Korea but so lethal that US troops were forbidden from sleeping in any area heated in this way. I wonder if the tribe in this Alaskan study was wiped ot by carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you heat with Ondol does your house smell like Kimchi?
He usually has a couple of them underway.
That's why Koreans speak an Uralic-Altaic language, just like the Tibetans, the Mongols, the Estonians, the Hungarians, and a host of other people with some serious cultural, linguistic, agricultural and political contact with North Central Eur-Asia.
I've been trying to get the archaeologists at Indiana University interested in the Brown County stones. Now I will approach the folks who teach Uralic-Altaic languages to see if they can get interested in doing something to preserve these stones.
Several of them were painted and carved on in the early 1800s by folks who thought of them as good road/direction signs.
Maybe the migration went the other way, from America to Asia. That would blow alot of theories away.
Kathy get in here
Identifiable Koreans were in the Korean peninsula for a very long time. It's one of the places where civilization started ~
I think this is the first time anyone has ever pinned down the presence of people from any Old World civilization in the Americas before Leif Erickson.
This will make it easier in the future for archaeologists to gain acceptance of lesser sorts of evience (amulets, bead works, preserved leather goods, clay pots) as being as legitimately present in America as they seem to be.
I believe that there have always been people on this continent. The notion that everyone came from somewhere else is ethnocentric and simplistic.
There was that volcano that went off and killed almost everybody ~ ran the population down to a few thousand at most. Then, sometime halfway through the period of maximum glaciation, someone invented boats.
Hasn't been the same since.
Nothing is stagnant.
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