Archaeologists digs in Vietnam unearth 'surprising' artifacts: conference

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Over 400 archaeological researches have been carried out nationwide in Vietnam this year, according to reports at the national conference on archaeological discoveries held in Hanoi on Sep 29-30.


In addition to the submission of 430 reports and announcements, the two-day event also highlighted achievements in the field including obtaining UNESCO recognition of the Ho Dynasty Citadel as a world cultural heritage.


Archeological excavations are being carried out at the Co Loa relic site in Hanoi, Dong Son-Ham Rong in Thanh Hoa province, the old town of Pho Hien in the northern province of Hung Yen, Con Son-Kiep Bac in Hai Duong province, and over 20 prehistoric relic sites in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa.


Speaking at the conference, Prof Tong Trung Tin, director of Vietnam Institute of Archaeology said, "We have learnt many big lessons about how careless and slow we are in preserving and protecting archaeological sites in the face of rampant urbanization."

He said many important archeological projects were being carried out in Binh Dinh, Quang Ninh, and Khanh Hoa provinces.


Historic discoveries were highlighted during the conference.

For instance, excavations since September 2010 at the mausoleum of Nguyen Dynasty general Thoai Ngoc Hau (1761-1829) and his two wives in the southern province of An Giang have unearthed an ancient coin cast during the reign of Nguyen Nhac (????-1793), the founder of Tay Son Dynasty (1778-1802). The military skills of Hau's younger brother, Emperor Quang Trung, are legendary.


Vietnamese archaeologists consider the discovery significant because Thoai Ngoc Hau was a high-ranking official of the Nguyen dynasty, who contributed greatly to the reclamation of land in the south-west of Vietnam, including the digging of the Vinh Te and Thoai Ha canals and other great works.


However, he apparently ordered that coins of the Tay Son brothers, considered rebels by the Nguyen dynasty, be included in his mausoleum.


The site, the most grandiose structure at the foot of Mount Sam in An Giang's Chau Doc Town, was built directly under the general's instruction.


Scientists suggested at the conference that the coin, among 523 artifacts made of diverse materials like bronze, gold, and porcelain that were unearthed at the site, may help reveal something hitherto unknown in Vietnam's history.


According to Dr. Pham Huu Cong, Thoai Ngoc Hau was a close childhood friend of general Tran Quang Dieu of Tay Son, whose hometown was Da Nang nowadays. "So Thoai Ngoc Hau and his wife had a certain connection with Tay Son and kept the coin as a remembrance," he said.


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