Dong Son and the sea

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A Dong Son bronze spear and an axe found near the coastline may suggest that the ancient peoples of that culture may have interacted with the sea more than previously thought. I do find the conclusions of the archaeologist in the article stretching a bit too thin when he says that the discovery of the artefacts prove that there was trading activity going on near the sea though.

Artifacts further evidence of East Sea sovereignty: expert
Vietnam Net Bridge, 07 July 2009
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Dong Son exhibition celebrates 85th anniversary of discovery

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The Vietnam History Museum is hosting a special exhibition featuring some of the rarest and most interesting finds from the Dong Son culture, which was discovered 85 years ago. The Dong Son culture appears to be an agricultural Bronze age culture situated in North Vietnam and are known for their skill in bronze casting.

Antiques of Dong Son civilisation
Vietnam Net Bridge, 10 April 2009

Dong Son relics distinctly Vietnamese
Nhan Dan, 11 April 2009
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Wednesday Rojak #48

Because of all the holiday traveling (Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year) and fieldwork, it’s been nearly two months since the last time I posted a rojak. I’ve got quite a fair bit collected over the last few weeks, so without further ado, here are some of the interesting blogs and stories about archaeology and Southeast Asia, the first for the year.

Ayutthaya
photo credit: travlinman43

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10 more days to visit Vietnam: From Myth to Modernity

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I’m back in Singapore for the weekend and one of the items on my to-do list was to visit the Vietnam: From Myth to Modernity exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum. When this exhibition first opened, I had only just started my stint up north, so I was glad to finally have been able to catch this exhibition before it closed at the end of this month. If you’ve been a loyal reader of this blog, you would have realised that by far, Vietnam is the most prolific country in terms of archaeological news that gets published here – this is in part because Vietnam’s archaeological heritage is quite varied and multi-layered. I haven’t visited Vietnam myself, and I reckon it’d take me at least three or four trips to see everything that I want to see. In this respect, this exhibition did quite a good job in revealing the breadth of Vietnam’s history from prehistory to modernity through the country’s artifacts. Read on to discover Vietnam’s archaeological heritage.


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Vietnamese archaeologists restore Dong Son drum

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27 July 2007 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – Archaeologists have managed to patch the remains and identify a Dong Son drum (previously mentioned in this site here). The drum belongs to an associated set of artefacts dating some 3,000 years old. The story mentions that the drum has a steel handle and I think this is highly unlikely to be an accurate description of the drum.

Vietnam Net Bridge, 27 Jul 2007

Archeologists restore ancient bronze drum

Archeologists have patched up and identified ancient bronze drum pieces recently discovered in Krong Pach district in Dak Lak province as part of a Heger Classification’s Type 1 drum.

The drum is about 50.5 cm high and 63 cm across with designs engraved all over the body part. The flat-shaped handle is made of steel of 6 cm in width and 8.5 cm in length.

In the area where the drum was unearthed, archeologists also found several iron and bronze tools as well as ancient ceramic pieces. According to experts, the area might have been an ancient burial ground where dead bodies were buried in bronze drums.

Similar tombs have been discovered in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak. Besides the bronze drum, many artifacts dating back to 3,000 years ago have also been found in Krong Pack district. Archeologists suggest that there is a link between the province and the ancient Dong Son culture.


More information about Dong Son drums can be found in:
The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia (Cambridge World Archaeology) by C. Higham
Dong Son Drums in Viet Nam
– Bronze Dong Son Drums by Ha Thuc Can

Dong Son serves a tasty plate of the past

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1 April 2007 (Viet Nam News) – It’s a museum featuring Dong Son drums! It’s a restaurant serving Chinese and Vietnamese food! Actually, it’s a little bit of both…

Dong Son serves a tasty plate of the past

With 2000-year-old bronze drums decorating its walls, Ha Noi’s Dong Son restaurant is a stylish place for a meal. Nguyen My Ha reports the food lives up to the surroundings. When the Dong Son Drum Restaurant opened three months ago, people weren’t sure what to expect from an eatery filled with 2,000-year-old artefacts in the northwest corner of Ha Noi. Beyond its ornate decorations and display cases is a highly professional staff and tasty treats from a one-of-a-kind restaurant, located on the second floor of a private museum. Owner Nguyen Dai Duong, who’s name means the ocean, is the son of a sailor. Also the owner of the New Century Club in downtown Ha Noi, Duong said he opened Dong Son to showcase his collection of bronze drums made about 2,000 years ago in central Viet Nam. … The artefacts are safely displayed in glass boxes and lit as they would be in a real museum. A message above the antiques challenges guests to spot a fake and receive a prize of US$10,000. On the corner of Tran Dang Ninh and Cau Giay avenues, the Dong Son Drum Restaurant is more than just a place to eat and relax. The restaurant holds pieces of our history and rich culture for Vietnamese and tourists to enjoy in a traditional setting.


Related Books:
Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by I. Glover
The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia (Cambridge World Archaeology) by C. Higham
– Bronze Dong Son Drums by Ha Thuc Can

Museum gets first Dong Son Drum

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15 March 2007 (Nhan Dan) – The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology receives donation of a Dong Son drum from a donor.

Museum gets first Dong Son Drum [Link no longer active]

The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology has added a Dong Son bronze drum to its collection thanks to a generous donation by a private collector.

The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology has received a Dong Son bronze drum from Pham Dung, who teaches at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Culture. The more-than-2,000-year-old drum to the museum yesterday, nine years after he picked it up in Ninh Binh province.

On the drum, which was used in harvest prayer rituals, are etched four toads with their heads directed clockwise, and concentric circles around a sun in the centre from where a dozen intricate and exact rays spread out towards the edge.