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30 January 2005
Ancient musical instruments unearthed in Vietnam

Musical instruments thought to be about 3,000 years old have been found by a team of Vietnamese archeologists. Known as lithophones, the ancient instruments are typically made of 11 slabs of stone. The lithophones were found in the southern province of Binh Duong in early January at a site that stretches some 20ha near a small hill in My Loc village.
     The broken instruments were buried deep in an 8sq.m pit, said Dr Bui Chi Hoang, deputy director of the Archaeology Centre of the Southern Institute for Social and Human Sciences. Hoang said the first discovery of ancient lithophones took place at an archeaological dig in Binh Da Village in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province."This finding marks a milestone in the long history of traditional musical instruments in the country," he said.
     Prof Le Xuan Diem, of the Southern Institute of Social and Human Sciences, said the instrument was previously believed to be a musical instrument of the people in the Central Highlands. "But recent discoveries have shown that lithophones were also used in ancient villages along Dong Nai River."
     In addition to ancient lithophones, archeologists found at the My Loc archeological site hundreds of pieces of stone tools such as axes, hoes, graters, and porcelain wares, including pots, jars and bowls. These remains have helped archeologists date the site to 3,000 to 3,500 years ago.

Source: VNS (26 January 2005)

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