Archaeological sites among Vietnam's 10 national treasures


A number of archaeological sites, including the My Son Sanctuary, the ancient capital of Hue, Hoi An Ancient Town and the Thang Long Citadel have been named in a list of special national treasures in Vietnam.

Hoi An
photo credit: robertlafond2009

Ten special national historical sites announced
Vietnam Net Bridge, 17 August 2009
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Vietnam needs new legislation to protect relics

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The Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister of Vietnam has highlighted the need for new legislation to meet the demands of heritage conservation work, especially in the light that many conservation projects do not meet quality standards and have even led to the damaging of some of the relics.

Legislation to save nation’s heritage [Link no longer active]
Viet Nam News, 13 April 2009
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World Heritage Town to receive a facelift

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30 August 2007 (Thanh Nien News) – The ancient town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An, which dates from the 15th century, is set to receive a financial boost to restore some of the relics, which includes houses and temples.

Thanh Nien News 30 Aug 2007

Hoi An to receive million-dollar face lift

entral Vietnam’s Quang Nam province will spend some VND16.6 billion on restoring relics in the historic town of Hoi An, one of Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Provincial authorities announced Thursday that the US$1.03 million project would enable the Quang Nam Preservation Center of Relics and Heritages to restore 11 relics including old houses, shrines, and temples.

The town, which was a well preserved Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th to the 19th centuries, was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

The town’s riverside buildings display a fascinating array of local and foreign influences.

Further reading:
Vietnam: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories) by L. S. Woods

Hoi An ancient town archaeological update

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15 August 2007 (Nhan Dan, Vietnam Net Bridge) – After two days of nothing but Angkor news, we head to Vietnam to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An to read how Japanese assistance has helped in the analysis of over 200 relics and the excavation of 10 sites in the province. Both aren’t very long stories and they both basically say the same thing, but it’s good to know that archaeological research in the region is being actively pursued by teams from different countries.

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Discovery of underground remnants in Hoi An

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6 February 2007 (Vietnam Net Bridge)

Vietnam Net Bridge, 6 Feb 2007

Discovery of underground remnants in Hoi An

The project to upgrade Hoi An’s ancient streets included many underground systems. Thus, every road in the project was dug up as deep as 2 m. Project construction works started in August 2006, right at the same time as a team of archeologists from Hanoi National University and Chieu Hoa University (Japan) excavated 3 sites in Hoi An: No. 16 on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Road, No. 76/18 on Tran Phu Road and the area around Tran Quy Cap School.

According to several research works, the history of the formation of Hoi An’s ancient quarters is linked to the Thu Bon Rivers’ alluvium depositing process to the south. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the northern bank of the Thu Bon River lied between the current Tran Phu Road and Nguyen Thai Hoc Road, 100 m away to the south of Ong Voi Temple. The wooden structure was found to be the same distance from Ong Voi Temple. Thus, it may have been erected on the northern bank of the Thu Bon River in the 17th century.

Also in front of No. 84 on Le Loi Road, Mr. Kikuchi Seiichi discovered 2,401 pieces of glazed terra-cotta, 2,624 pieces of china and 11 Chinese coins, as well as several Vietnamese and Hizen – Japanese pottery works. Other remnants included a brick water-escaping site with a sand and clay bottom, 30 cm wide and 22 cm deep. This site dates from the 17th century.

Preservation plans unveiled for subterranean ancient town

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29 January 2007 (Thanh Nien News) – Remains of an ancient town found underneath the Hoi An Town (a World Heritage Site by itself) will be preserved and studied by archaeologists from Vietnam and Japan.

Thanh Nien News, 29 Jan 2007

Preservation plans unveiled for subterranean ancient town

The Quang Nam provincial administration is chalking out plans to conserve an ancient town and relics dating back to about four centuries ago recently unearthed in the area.

It said a special museum would be built to research, preserve and promote tourism visits to the ancient town, discovered 2 meters below the earth of the now Hoi An town.

Archeologists from the Hanoi National University and Japan’s Showa Women’s University immediately asked authorities concerned to halt the construction work so that they could begin excavating the site.

The ensuing search found thousands of pieces of glazed terra cotta and porcelain as well as eleven coins of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese origins at the archaeological site.

Ancient town’s infrastructure work halted as relics found

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30 October 2006 (Thanh Nien News) – Unearthed archaeological relics interrupt work on the Hoi An World Heritage Town, but the excavations required might also destabilise the foundations of some of the heritage houses.

Thanh Nien News, 30 Oct 2006

Ancient town’s infrastructure work halted as relics found

Infrastructure upgrades to protect Hoi An resort town in Quang Nam province were halted after archeological relics were unearthed, reported local authorities

According to the Hoi An People’s Committee, a variety of separate archaeological finds were unearthed deep under the surface of the town during digging to install drainage and other waterworks to protect the World Heritage-recognized town from annual flooding.

Remains of 17th-century 'Japanese Bridge' in Vietnam found

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12 Sep 2006 (Thanh Nien News)

Thanh Nien News, 12 Sep 2006

Remains of 17th-century ‘Japanese Bridge’ in Vietnam found

A team of Japanese and Vietnamese researchers has excavated remains of a 17th-century bridge believed built by Japanese settlers at the World Heritage site of Hoi An in central Vietnam, Kyodo reported…

The researchers from [tag]Showa Women’s University[/tag] in Tokyo and the [tag]Hanoi National University[/tag] found clayware and carbonized wooden pegs that appear to have supported bridge columns.

These were dug out from a 17th-century geological layer at a depth of 2.2 meters below a road at the foot of the bridge.