The illegal trade in ancient bronze drums

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06 August 2008 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – This piece of alarming news comes from the Dak Lak province, where Dong Son drums have been recently discovered, and how as many of 50 of them have been illegally excavated and smuggled out.

Vietnam Net Bridge, 06 Aug 2007

Many ancient bronze drums being illegally excavated

In the past four months, 50 bronze drums have been unearthed and transported illegally out Krong Nang district in Dak Lak province, said doctor Tran Quy Thinh from the Vietnam Archeological Institute.

Of these, the only one that is yet to be sold is at present being kept by Nguyen Thi Dieu from Xuan Vinh commune. Ms. Dieu has asked Dak Lak Museum for VND100million (US$6,000) for the ancient drum.

The drum, which was discovered in Ms. Dieu’s garden, is a Dong Son Drum Type 1, which dates back 2,200 years. The surface’s diameter is 65 cm, and the diameter of the bottom is 67 cm.

This is considered the most intact of all the ancient bronze drums that have been discovered in the Central Highlands of Dak Lak so far. Archeologists have recently restored another smaller Type 1 bronze drum found in the district of Krong Pack, where other 3,000-year-old artifacts have also been discovered.


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

Some Parties Are Claiming Artefacts- Rais

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12 Sep 2006 (Bernama) – A follow up to the seizure of artefacts in September 2005, parties like the Museum of the Philippines are seeking the return of artefacts in the haul which the museum claims it owns.

Some Parties Are Claiming Artefacts- Rais

Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Datuk Seri Dr [tag]Rais Yatim[/tag] said several parties claimed that the more than 400 artefacts and historical items found in various containers seized at the Port Klang in September 2005 were theirs and should be returned to them.

“Their excuses are they have proof of contract between Philip Greco, an American who has permanent resident status in the country through the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ programme with parties which provided the financing.

“We will go through these claims from the legal aspects and if their claims are genuine, we can give some estimates and allow several artefacts worth RM2.2 million to be claimed,” he told reporters when commenting on the latest development on the artefacts and historical items.

Rais described the situation as a “mystery” when Greco succeeded in bringing in the artefacts by declaring them as household items worth RM7,600 although the real value of these treasures ran into millions of ringgit.