Dong Son material culture found in Vietnamese central highlands

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02 July 2007 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – A Dong Son style drum, used as a receptacle for human bones, was unearthed recently in the Dak Lak province of Vietnam. What I found interesting in this story was the fact that the coffee plant owner, in which the drum was found, was actually holding the drum ransom!

Dong Son drum discovered in Dak Lak

A bronze drum used to keep human bones has recently been discovered in Krong Nang district in the Central Highlands of Dak Lak, according to the Dak Lak General Museum.

According to the museum’s director Luong Thanh Son, the drum was found by waste collectors in a coffee plant. The plant’s owner asked the museum to pay VND100million (US$6,000) in return for the drum. The museum has informed higher provincial authorities of the drum as well as the sky-high price the owner is demanding.

Read more about the Dong Son drum find in Dak Lak.

Other books about the Dong Son culture:
The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia (Cambridge World Archaeology) by C. Higham

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

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