11th century altar unearthed during carpark construction

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11th century altar unearthed in Hanoi. source: Thanh Nien News 20141126

An 11th century altar, believed to be significant in the Ly Dynasty period of Vietnam, was unearthed during the construction of an underground car park. The Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences has written to the Prime Minister to intervene.

11th century altar unearthed in Hanoi. source: Thanh Nien News 20141126

11th century altar unearthed in Hanoi. source: Thanh Nien News 20141126

Social scientists ask Vietnam’s PM to protect ancient altar
Thanh Nien News, 26 November 2014
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Ly Dynasty architecture found beneath the Thang Long Citadel

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Archaeologists working at the Thang Long Citadel in Hanoi discover the remains of Ly Dynasty architecture and water system beneath the existing foundations.

Unearthed architectural remains from Thang Long Citadel, SGGP 20121227

Unearthed architectural remains from Thang Long Citadel, SGGP 20121227

Vestiges of Ly Dynasty found at Thang Long Citadel
SGGP, 27 December 2012

Many more relics revealed under Thang Long Citadel
Vietnam Net, 28 December 2012

Ancient water system found at Citadel
Tuoi Tre News, 28 December 2012
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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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Vietnam’s Thang Long Citadel one step closer to World Heritage status

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The Vietnamese government has completed its documentation of the ancient capital of Thang Long (Ha Noi), required for submission to UNESCO for World Heritage consideration.

Thang Long Citadel, Nhan Dan, 11 August 2008

Royal citadel’s file completed for UNESCO recognition [Link no longer active]
Nhan Dan, 11 August 2008

Thang Long citadel closes in on UNESCO recognition [Link no longer active]
Viet Nam News, 11 August 2008
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A look at excavations in Hanoi

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16 October 2007 (New York Times) – The New York Times carries a well-written feature on the current archaeological excavations going on in Hanoi, seeking to understand the ancient capital of Thang Long, which was founded by the Ly dynasty a millennia earlier. The excavation is said to be the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

A Rich and Royal Ruin in the Heart of Hanoi
by Jennifer Pinkowski

Nine hundred years before Ho Chi Minh declared Hanoi the capital of a newly independent Vietnam in 1945, the first king of the Ly Dynasty issued a similar decree.

In 1010 King Ly Thai To picked Thang Long (“Ascending Dragon”), situated within present-day Hanoi, as the capital for a country that had defeated the Tang Dynasty less than a century before, ending a millennium of Chinese rule.

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Vietnamese archaeologist debunks 1,000-year-old altar claim

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26 May 2007 (Thanh Nien Daily) – The remnants of what is thought to be a 1,000-year-old altar of the Ly Dynasty found last year in Hanoi is being refuted by a senior archaeologist.

Hanoi discovery not 1,000-year-old altar, warns archeologist

A veteran archeologist has said that a relic unearthed recently in Hanoi was not a state altar dating back 1,000 years and so the government should not spend millions on honoring it.

Professor Nguyen Van Hao, former deputy head of the Archaeological Institute, told Thanh Nien the structure found in Dong Da district last year by a roadwork unit was not the dan xa tac (state altar) of the Ly Dynasty (1010-1225).

The top of the xa tac must be a high platform covered in five different-colored soils which this site was not, he said.

Instead, it was tiled and small – less than 15 square meters – while the state altar would have been larger.

The structure has four small brick foundations, of which the bottom layer is acknowledged to have been built by the Ly dynasty and the three upper ones by the Le dynasty. Hao said it was illogical that the Le dynasty alone would build three xa tac altars.

“In my opinion what people found are just the remains of a certain architectural work done by the Ly.”

The altar was discovered last November by a group of workers building a new road.

Read more about Professor Nguyen’s objections to the supposed state altar.

Japan to assist Vietnam preserve ancient bastion

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20 Feb 2007 (Thanh Nien News) – A joint Japanese-Vietnamese venture to preserve an 11th century fort in Hanoi. The citadel was built by King Ly Thai To, the first emperor of the later Ly dynasty who officially named the kingdom “Dai Viet”.

Thanh Nien, 20 Feb 2007

Japan to assist Vietnam preserve ancient bastion

Japanese experts will help Vietnam preserve the Thang Long Citadel in Hanoi, a fort which was the seat of an 11th century kingdom, a conference heard Monday.

At a meeting titled Thang Long Citadel Preservation held by the Japan-Vietnam Cooperation Committee, experts from the two countries also decided to study ways to make the citadel an on-site museum.

Private museum displays antique collection in Thanh Hoa Province

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21 November 2006 (Vietnam News) – A private museum opens in Vietnam featuring antiquities.

Private museum displays antique collection in Thanh Hoa Province

Hoang Long Antique Museum, the first private museum in the central province of Thanh Hoa, officially opened its doors to the public at an inaugural ceremony on Sunday.

A 350sq.m area has been devoted to displaying nearly 1,000 antiques, reflecting the social changes that have shaped life in Thanh Hoa Province since early times.

The museum currently owns more than 5,600 articles, relics and some valuable collectibles, such as bronze drums, Dong Son ceramics, ceramics from the Ly and Tran dynasties, ancient jewelry and even cannons.


Related Books:
Art & Archaeology of Fu Nan by J. C. Khoo
Vietnamese Ceramics: A Separate Tradition by J. Stevensen, J. Guy and L. A. Cort