Prehistoric human remains found in central Vietnam cave

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An archeologist collects the remains of a prehistoric person from Con Moong Cave 

Archeologists have found the remains of prehistoric people in Con Moong Cave in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, indicating that the cave was used as both living quarters and as a tomb.

A study released by the Thanh Hoa Department of Cuture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Archeology Institute last November said that the remains of four people from the Stone Age were detected 3.6 meters below ground.

The study was carried out over nearly one year by Vietnamese archeologists and scientists from the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology in Novosibirsk, Russia.

One of corpses found fairly intact, had been buried in a prone fetal position, entombed alongside stone work tools. 

VnExpress quoted the archeologists as saying that it may have been customary to rope the dead before burying them since these people believed that ghosts could injure the living.

The burial procedure also revealed the people who lived in the cave likely believed in an afterlife because the dead were buried with tools and jewelry.

Archeologists also claimed in the study that the tombs were uniquely structured, decorated with different stones and located near fires used for cooking, hypothesizing that  prehistoric people sought to keep their dead nearby.

Tons of snail shells, animal teeth, along with several tools such as stone axes, scrapers and mortar pestles were also found in Con Moong Cave.

First discovered in 1974 and excavated two years later, relics found at the cave have helped academics establish the continuous cultural development of Vietnamese people from the pre-Son Vi, Son Vi, Hoa Binh, Bac Son and Da But civilizations, which date back to between 18,000 and 7,000 BC, VnExpress said, citing archeological reports.

It has also showed the human evolution from the beginning to the end of the Stone Age, from hunting and gathering to agrarian life. 

The Con Moong, located in Thach Thanh District's Thanh Yen Commune and within Cuc Phuong National Park, is known in the local dialect as "The Beast."

People in Mo village said past generations did not dare visit the cave for fear of tigers and panthers, as well as ghost spirits they feared would follow them home and harm villagers. 

Nguyen Van Tuan, director of the Thanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism told VnExpress that his department is planning to propose to the government that Con Moong Cave be recognized as a special national vestige next year.

Thanh Hoa Province submitted the cave to UNESCO for recognition as a World Cultural Heritage site in 2006.

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