This article aims to review some research perspectives concerning iron culture in the Liaoning region of China, which is presumed to be where Gojoseon was located, and the Korean Peninsula, in order to examine the issues and regional and original characteristics of iron culture in the peripheral areas. By looking at the iron culture of Gojoseon, this article aims to explore Goguryeo’s role in the expansion of iron culture in Northeast Asia.
Historical records associated with the Great Wall of Yan and the distribution of Chinese coins were studied in order to examine the inflow of iron culture into the Korean Peninsula. Some examples of ironware alien to both the Yan and Han iron culture were found within the boundaries of Gogoryeo. In this case, the artifacts were seen to be irrelevant to Goguryeo. It was suggested that an iron culture distinct from the Han iron culture had been established in the areas of the Tianshan mountain range and the lower reaches of the Aprok(Yalu) River, where Yan-type cast iron had spread. It was proposed that this non-Han type ironware had been produced and circulated in the Daedong River Basin, even after the Lelang Commandery had been established. Yantype cast iron objects, which maintained their originality, were produced around the 2nd century BCE. Non-Han type forged objects, such as daggers, appear to have been produced from the 1st century BCE, when sponge iron began to be produced.
This article maintains that iron had been produced within the boundaries of Goguryeo in the periods of late Gojoseon and Wiman Joseon, and was distributed throughout the Korean Peninsula and Japanese Archipelago. From the 2nd century onwards, Gojoseon appears to have been the source of an iron culture that expanded not only throughout the Korean Peninsula but also throughout Northeast Asia, thereby establishing the foundations of the iron culture of the Samhan Period.