|I SO wish (Gawker)|
Pyongyang, November 29 (KCNA) -- Archaeologists of the History Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences have recently reconfirmed a lair of the unicorn rode by King Tongmyong, founder of the Koguryo Kingdom (B.C. 277-A.D. 668). The lair is located 200 meters from the Yongmyong Temple in Moran Hill in Pyongyang City. A rectangular rock carved with words "Unicorn Lair" stands in front of the lair. The carved words are believed to date back to the period of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).The 'unicorn' in this case is a Kirin, a chimera-like beast common to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean mythologies. The Kirin is right up therein the power rankings with dragons and phoenixes, and has a very decent beer named after it.
|Maltier than your average unicorn|
The English release poorly translated the name of a historical location, Kiringul, as "Unicorn Lair," a very evocative name for Westerners. But in Korean history, the name Kiringul has a rather different significance. Kiringul is one of the sites associated with King Tongmyŏng, the founder of Koguryŏ, an ancient Korean kingdom. The thrust of the North Korean government's announcement is that it claims to have discovered Kiringul, and thus to have proven that Pyongyang is the modern site of the ancient capital of Koguryŏ.
|The mausoleum of Tyongmong (Japan Focus|
|The Kiringul 'Unicorn Lair' (via IO9)|
|Moon and Sun dieties from a Koguryo tomb (Japan Focus)|
No, the North Korean government did not claim it found evidence of unicorns [IO9]
The contested heritage of Koguryo [Japan Focus]
North Korean archaeology of convenience [Far Outliers]
Post scriptum: I love that a science fiction blog has the web's best coverage of an archaeology story. For more on the connections between the two, read: Archaeology is Science Fiction. And don't miss: more unicorn coverage on Archaeopop.