Korea's
Four Golden Ages
Professor Mason's original Theory
of the Framework of Korean History
600–800
Late 3-Kingdoms,
Early Unified Shilla

800-935   First Dark Age
collapse and civil war

940 – 1200
Early Goryeo Dynasty

1200-1390   Second Dark Age
corruption, Mongol Invasion

1392 – 1592
Early Joseon Dynasty

1592-1600s   Third Dark Age
invasions by Japanese & Manchu
1700s-1800s   Recovery, Peace
but socio-political stagnation
1894-1987    Fourth Dark Age
Rebellion, Japanese Colonization,
division & war, dictatorships

1988 – ????
Modern South Korea
North Korea
The UNESCO World
Cultural Heritage Sites
associated with Korea's Ages

Prehistoric:
Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites  (2000)



1st GA:  600–800
Complex of Koguryo Tombs  (2004, North Korea)
Baekje Historic Areas  (2015)
Gyeongju Historic Areas  (2000)
Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea  (2018)
Seokgur-am Grotto and Bulguk-sa Temple  (1995)


800-935   First Dark Age
collapse and civil war
None


2nd GA:  940–1200
Early Goryeo Dynasty
Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong  (2013, North Korea)
Traditional Buddhist Mountain Temples of Korea  (2013, Tentative)


2nd DA:  1200-1390
Gaya-san Haein-sa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon,
the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks  (1995)


3rd GA: 1392 – 1592
Jongmyo Shrine  (1995)
Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty  (2009)
Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong  (2010)
Seowon, Confucian Academies of Korea  (2011, Tentative)


3rd DA:  1592-1600s
None


Recovery Era:  1700s-1800s
Namhan Sanseong Mountain-Fortress  (2014)
Changdeok-gung Palace Complex  (1997)
Hwaseong Castle  (1997)


4th DA:  1894-1987
None

4th GA:  1988–????
None