Amateur archaeologist illuminates past

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15 Apr 2007 (Viet Nam News) – It’s quite interesting to hear about ‘amateur archaeologists’ nowadays, particularly from this part of the world. This man collected some 7,500 stone artefacts over a span of 17 years. I find it quite interesting that the archaeology authorities commend him for his collection efforts rather than the loss of valuable context. Still, the alternative may be worse if the artefacts become ground to make drugs for folk use.

Amateur archaeologist illuminates past

It was almost 17 years ago when Van Dinh Thanh, while panning for gold on the banks of the Po Co River in Sa Thay Commune, reached down and picked up what he thought was a golden nugget. On closer inspection he discovered that the object was a worked piece of stone. Later he was to learn that it was a prehistoric stone hammer. The discovery fired his passion for ancient artefacts and was the start of the young gold prospector’s new life as an amateur archaeologist.

Thanh’s collection now numbers 7,000 artefacts and is the largest in the province. The artefacts date from the 500 BC to 5500 BC and include stone axes, drills, hoes, jewellery and Bon Rang Trau, an agricultural tool shaped like a buffalo’s teeth. The collection is divided into three categories: the Neolithic era (New Stone Age), Mesolithic era (Middle Stone Age) and Palaeolithic era (Old Stone Age). Experts say his collection is invaluable to understanding the anthropology of the region.

“I highly appreciate what Thanh has done,” says Professor Nguyen Khac Su from the Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology, who was a member of the group that visited Thanh’s house in 1991. “The standard of education among those living in the gold fields of Lung Leng is very low. They assume that these tools are ‘hammers of god’ and often grind them down to make drugs for their children. Other people throw them away because they are scared of the prehistoric remains.”


Related Books:
The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia (Cambridge World Archaeology) by C. Higham
Stone adzes of Southeast Asia;: An illustrated typology (Canterbury Museum bulletin) by R. Duff

Lung Leng: window to prehistoric time

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3 September 2006 (Viet Nam Net Bridge) – A larger feature on the Lung Leng archaeological site in the central highlands of Vietnam, with a larger range of photographs of the artefacts found there.

Viet Nam Net Bridge, 3 September 2006

Lung Leng: window to prehistoric time

Located on the left bank of the Po Co River, in Sa Binh Commune, Sa Thay District, Kon Tum Province, Lung Leng used to be a small gold mine. It was excavated in 1999 and 2001 on an area of 11,500 square meters and is one of Vietnam’s biggest-ever archaeological excavations.

In the second excavation archeologists found 20 relics with 14,552 stone objects, 224 pottery objects and 37 metal objects. 500 objects were sorted out into various collections of pottery, ornaments, Gong (cong chieng), alcohol jars, and ethnic costumes to be displayed in the HCM City Historical Museum. Many tools showing the indications of the Son Vi culture from the Paleolithic age were found in the Central Highlands for the first time.

Exhibition displays Central Highlands ancient artifacts

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27 August 2006 (Viet Nam Net Bridge)

Exhibition displays Central Highlands ancient artifacts

The Vietnam Museum of History in Ho Chi Minh City, in coordination with the Kon Tum General Museum, opened an exhibition titled “Lung Leng – The Mystery of the Prehistoric Central Highlands” on August 26…

A collection of working tools from the paleolithic and neolithic eras, pottery and jewelry, trunk tombs, and many valuable photos and scientific documents on the Lung Leng site are also being displayed at the showroom, which will be open until November.

Excavation of Kon Tum site ends

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7 June 2006 (VietNamNet Bridge)

Excavation of Kon Tum site ends

At nine excavation sites in the bed of Pleikrong Reservoir, archaeologists from the Vietnam Archaeology Institute found over 48,000 objects and relics, including 127 kilns, 99 tombs, 970 stone items, five bronze items, 12 iron items and 68 pottery objects.

The dig uncovered relics from two to three different civilizations. All relics are located along the two banks of the Poko River, the source of abundant food and water for cultivation.

Prehistoric relics found in Central Highlands

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1 June 2006 (Vietnam News Agency) – Short post on Vietnamese prehistoric central highland with stone, iron and bronze finds.

20060601 Vietnam News Agency

Prehistoric relics found in Central Highlands

Local experts have discovered original objects of the Central Highlands prehistoric culture at nine relic sites at the reservoir of the Plei Krong Hydro-electric Power Plant in Kon Tum province.


Related Books:
Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago by P. Bellwood
Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by I. Glover

History Museum reveals secrets from Lung Leng

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5 May 2006 (Vietnam News Agency)

History Museum reveals secrets from Lung Leng

The National Museum of Vietnamese History is opening an exhibition on May 5 titled Bi Mat Tu Lung Leng (Secrets from Lung Leng) featuring items excavated from the Lung Leng archeological site in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum.