4th century citadel found in central Vietnam

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Archeologists from Vietnam and Japan excavate the site of a 4th-century citadel in the Central Highlands province of Quang Nam

A section of a citadel believed to be dated to the fourth century and be part of the capital city of the lost kingdom of Champa has been discovered in the central province of Quang Nam.

The newly-found relic was once the eastern wall of Simhapura, the capital city of the Indianized kingdom of Champa, said Dang Ngoc Kinh, who leads the group of archeologists from the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and Japan.

During the excavation funded by Japan in Duy Xuyen District, researchers found the citadel walls are some five meters thick. The brick walls are two meters high and held together with clay and earth, according to archeologist Nguyen Khanh Trung Kien, a member of the team.

He said the current theory is that the citadel had been built to protect the capital city, also known as Tra Kieu.

The citadel's structure was found in good condition, especially those part which were deep underground, said Dr. Yamagata Mariko from Japan's Kanazawa University.

According to Kinh, traces of the ancient capital city were first discovered in 1990-2003 when researchers from the University of Hanoi excavated the southern section of the site.

At that time, they found 1.5 kilometers of citadel wall about six meter thick and similar in structure to the eastern wall recently unearthed.

Following the latest findings, the citadel has been recognized as a national relic site, Dinh Hai, director of Quang Nam Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told Thanh Nien.

The department will make a plan to preserve the site and prepare a collection of relics found at the site, he added.

Champa was said to have thrived in the central and south regions of Vietnam between the seventh century and 1832 when it was taken over by Vietnamese kings. Some records say the kingdom could have been founded as early as AD192.

Now, the community of Simhapura descendants totals around 200,000 members scattered around Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces along the south central coast.

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