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21 August 2005
Prehistoric casting centre found in Vietnam

Excavations in Vinh Phuc Province (Vietnam) have revealed a 3,500-year-old bronze casting centre of Dong Son. The recent excavations of the Thanh Den site in Cu An Hamlet, conducted by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, have revealed a large volume of findings belonging to the early and late stages of development of the Dong Dau Culture. The findings have also helped to affirm the existence of the greatest centre of non-ferrous alloy production in Viet Nam. Within a 100 sq.m area, 108 bronze artefacts were unearthed. Thousands of pointed axes, spears, arrows, hooks, pieces of copper wire and many pieces of earthenware were also discovered. Other findings made of stone and ceramics were much scarcer in comparison with bronze items. The findings show that about 3,500 years ago, bronze instruments played an important role and appeared to replace similar items made of stone.
     The vestiges of the inhabitants of the stage of the Dong Son Culture have been discovered through the stratum structure. In addition to bronze items, there are some traces of rattan ware, and woven items. Archaeologist Bui Van Liem, PhD, of the Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology, has also discovered two ancient graves in which bones were lying on a rectangular foundation of well-trodden earth, similar to a coffin in the primeval period. The remains were placed lying supine with hands and legs stretched out. The foundation of the graves were strewn with yellow earth and stone and ceramic items were interred within.
     All these findings may help us to figure out the face of an ancient village of that age. Inhabitants resided for some time in the area and lived mainly on cultivating rice. In addition to farming, they may have been skilful in many other trades.
     Recently, the Vinh Phuc Department of Culture and Information and the Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology finished the project entitled "Overall Planning of the Dong Dau Site until 2020" with its key task to preserve Thanh Den as a national site and make it an important tourist centre.

Source: Vietnam News Agency (14 August 2005)

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