Massive culvert found under ancient Vietnam citadel

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Archeologists at the excavation area in the Hanoi citadel

Vietnamese archeologists are unable to agree about what purpose a huge ancient culvert found recently beneath the ancient Hanoi citadel served.

The Institute of Archaeology on December 26 said the culvert, two meters wide and equally deep, was built by the Ly Dynasty (1009-1225) using bricks and has wooden stakes running along its sides.

Tong Trung Tin, head of the institute, said it could have been a drain for the center of the citadel or related to feng shui, which has for long played an important role in Vietnam, especially in construction, and other Asian countries like China and Japan.

Nguyen Quang Ngoc, former head of the Institute of Vietnamese Studies and Development Sciences, said it could have been a moat.

Tran Duc Cuong, head of the Institute of Social Sciences, opined it was an exit tunnel.

Hoang Van Khoan of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi said it may not have been a culvert but actually a pond to store water for the citadel.

Luu Tran Tieu, the chairman of the National Heritage Council, said the vestige needs to be studied further to reach a conclusion. Its excavation will meanwhile continue.

The Thang Long Imperial Citadel, now stands next to the National Assembly building, was built in the 11th century.

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Recently the government opened for public viewing a secret bunker where war commanders lived and worked during the Vietnam War. It is also located under the citadel.

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