Jeongok Prehistory Museum

Jeongok’s landscape is remarkable, defined by its meanders and curved lines of its hills.
The museum’s volume stretches between its two hills, spanning either side. It prolongs the hill’s curves, seemingly emanating from the contour lines. It creates a certain tension within the landscape!

In this way it seeks harmony. The forms are soft and rounded, biological, almost animal.
The exterior surface in stainless steel is printed, micro-perforated, modern, inspired by snake skins and Korean dragons...
At night, the printed perforations light up, come alive, as the light moves along the surface, miracle of modern technologies.

The surface becomes animated, This large creature seems to breath, While magical, It also confuses….
Is this architecture, … or a prehistoric serpent?

The space
Situated on the same level as the exhibition preparation zone, the exhibition space works in one direction
(separate entrance and exit). It is equipped with a cyclo-peripheral wall, lit by large recessed edge lighting. A meshing of equipped suspended cables facilitates exhibiting within the entire space.

"Jeongok throughout the ages" :
The inaugural exhibition will illustrate the beginning of life in Jeongok, in five sequences, from the Cambrian period to the Cretaceous. Each sequence will be accompanied by the drifting of continents. In the center, the main installation assembles reconstituted animal species the most representative of each period. Therefore one will discover at the lower level terrible creatures from prehistoric times, above humanity walking along side the "man of Jeongok".

The space consists of the multimedia exhibition relating to archaeological research and the educational workshops. The main component of this sequence consists of the large interactive research table surrounding "Otzi’s" mummified body.

Jeongok is the example from which the story of the world will be told
"Icones" and symbols of the museum, the giant stone and the immense skeleton of the man of Jeongok introduce the exhibition. Floating freely within the space, they seem to reach out from "the depths of time".

The Great Walk of Evolution : spectacular and novel, this main installation structures the visit. Reconstitutions of the first Koreans are to be created for this exhibition. This will be a worldwide "scientific first".

While circling the exhibit the visitor unravels the time line, imprinted upon the floor and indicating the way.

The museography is conceived as a landscape with its path as a winding and meandering river. There are no display cabinets or panels, only raised floors, image "wells", display "wells", niches carved into the walls, answering to the punctually lowered ceiling or the curved wall surface. Futurist and homogenous with the architecture, they evoke caves and grottos.

The immersive sequence crosses the natural environments experienced by prehistoric man during their evolution, changing in accordance with the climates. There are surprises! Around a bend suddenly a large "clearing" appears devoted to the site of Jeongok!

The eye is drawn to the larger volumes that structure the space: the mammoth, the giant globe, the Jeongok stones’ magic columns, the entrance to the cave, the bone hut which the visitor can penetrate… The cave sequence is important, dark and mysterious, passable, interactive and playful, it procures a unique experience in Korea that the visitors will remember!!

The lights are not static, they move!! The Walk of Evolution is lit by moving lights, as in a fashion show. Images projected within the peripheral niches create "virtual windows"!!

The integrated technology gives a futuristic impression: As in the hall of the Samsung museum in Seoul, the screens are integrated behind untinted or serigraphed glass. Only the illuminated part of the screens arevisible to the eye, the images appearing "magically" on the glass. The effect is ultra modern!!!

The museum’s design could also be sonar! A sonar designer could compose an interactive partition to scale with the entire sequence. Presence captors could activate a partition bit by bit as the visitors progress through the space, as with the interactive lithophone experience where music is generated by the visitors’ movements.

The river :
Vital to prehistoric man, rivers provided food and water, whilst both strategic and exchange ways.
This river or stream is a representation, defining meanders like the Hantan River. It has an aesthetic, ecologic, and educational role. The modelling of the terrain enables an "appropriation of the landscape", a regulation of the slopes, a reshaping of the valleys, while hiding the neighbourhood. The planted grasses integrate the prehistoric huts, create surprise and make one forget the crowd. The visual openings of the "large meadow" give the park the dimension of a large landscape.

The paths :
organised as overlapping loops, they pass through the different ecosystems and landscapes. Their number gives the impression of space.

They serve the exterior museographic space :
- at the top, on the hill, spaces dedicated to archaeological finds
- below, in the plain, prehistoric experimentation workshops: spaces for pottery, archery, the cave, "prehistoric barbeques"…
- 4 groups of "prehistoric workshops", huts with roofs of thatched wild grasses

A program to discover the natural environment :
The garden represents the two natural environments from the prehistoric landscape of the Hantan River: the forest on the hillsides and the stream meandering through the grassy plains. Different conditions of the stream are represented generating different plant ecosystems varying depending on the flowing water’s speed. Fish, insects, batrachians will colonise the banks.

The plantations are thus adapted to each environment :
- within the forest: arborescent ferns and long leaved bamboos
- near the stream, long grasses, wild rice and carexes from the inundated plain.
- species adapted to the waters’ depth
- wild medicinal herbs
Seasons :
the garden’s interest points evolve following the different seasons. Thus in the springtime, one will visit the gardens so as to admire the river Iris, in autumn, the golden gingko biloba…

Water ecologies :
a further museographic theme:
Water is an important theme in Jeongok, due to the close proximity of the Hantan River.
Here, underlining the ecology of the water cycle completes the ecological approach of the permanent exhibition space.
Within the garden, the regeneration of water is undertaken while filtering through planted pools of carefully selected species. The water circulating in a loop is regenerated and the animal life preserved. One can follow the water’s cycle: from the pool near the museum’s entrance, below the esplanade, along the stream down to the "plain" where it will be collected and pumped back up so as to start a new cycle.

The Jeongok site is an exfraordinary site for several reasons. First of all, the landscape configuration itself explains the reasons why the prehistoric societies decided to settle there. Access to natural resources was easy because of the presence of the river where fishery could be developed and the plain on the back where huntjng could be practiced. The site is also unique because it gathers on the same place the current archaeological fieldworks, the authentic natural landscape of the prehistoric Jeongok people and a new coming museum to present all the ecological potential of the site and the ability of one of the first inhabitants of Korea. Finally, the site is of great value for its cultural richness: artefacts showing a continuous presence of humans from 300,000 to 40,000 years ago. This Jeongok industry by its diversity illustrates a complex and advanced prehistoric society. This human production is unique in Korea and Far East Asia, therefore, it needed the best technologically furnished museum to present it to public and researchers.

The Jeongok Museum exhibit project has been developed around Prehistoric Jeongok man and his great family of the hominids. In order to underline the uniqueness and complexity of the Korean prehistoric society, it was important to situate Jeongok Man and his productions into the largest paleoanthropological and cultural context as possible. Therefore it has been decided to approach him through 4 different themes.

The first theme deals with the hominids and the human families throughout the world and time (6 My to 20,000 y) with a focus on Far East Asia, Korea and Jeongok. Casts of original fossils of hominids from Pre-Australopithecus to Homo sapiens through Homo erectus will be present along with description notes. Each fossil will have its reconstitution for a total of 15 reconstitutions, which will take place in the centre of the exhibition room and form the Great march of evolution.

The second theme will concern the environment including flora and fauna corresponding to each hominid group. Thus, the arborated savana, the tropical jungle, the cold and temperate continental environment will be reconstituted.

The third theme will focus on the origin of bipedalism and the ability of exploring new areas with a focus on human migrations and the different routes chosen by humans through time and regions displayed on a giant terrestrial globe.
The fourth theme will take into consideration the human technological and cultural productions, including stonet tool making process, which tools panoply will induce ability to develop means of subsistence such as hunting and gatherings. There the Jeongok site ecological and archaeological particularities will be presented. The Jeongok stone-tools industry will be presented in a gigantic column in order to show the complexity and variety of this lithic industry. Production and use of fire will also be evoked.


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