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6 April 2011
Prehistoric tombs discovered in Vietnam

Tombs of the Sa Huynh culture - flourished in Vietnam between 1000 BCE and 200 CE - have been dug up in Tre village in Tay Tra district, in the central province of Quang Ngai. The tombs were unearthed at a depth of 1 meter. The site is only 2-5m from the bank of Tang River. Dr. Doan Ngoc Khoi, from the Quang Ngai Museum, said the tombs are located close together. Sa Huynh Culture is a jar burial culture on the coastal plains of central and southern Vietnam, which boasts a distinctive decorative style of bronze axes, daggers, and ornaments.
     In a part of the river where water was dried up to build a water reservoir for a nearby dam, archaeologists excavated tools that date back to 4,000 years ago. Along the river, the team also dug up pottery products belonging to a pre-Sa Huynh period and buried jars containing items typical of the Bronze Age's Sa Huynh culture.
     Another important finding was that stone tools belonging to the Neolithic discovered in the Tang river valley are actually similar to what was previously found in the Central Highlands. Khoi said that it was possible that the Neolithic tribesmen had crossed over the Truong Son mountain range, and reached the coastal delta of Vietnam's central region. Their migration had laid foundations for the development of Sa Huynh civilization in the following Bronze Age era.
     A water reservoir will be constructed right at the archeological site to serve a nearby dam, and it could endanger other unfound artifacts. The first priority is to find a way to move all the findings out of the area before it is flooded, Doctor Doan Ngoc Khoi said. The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism previously allowed archaeological excavations to be carried on until May 15. However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on March 30 asked the Quang Ngai authorities to start the construction of the dam on April 5. "If the MARD decides to implement the project as of April 5, the entire archaeological site will be flooded," Dr. Khoi said.

Edited from VietNamnet (5 April 2011)

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