The Sa Huynh native

A spotlight on Vietnamese archaeologist Doan Ngoc Khoi, who has spent most of his career investigating the prehistoric Sa Huynh culture.

Culture digger
Thanh Nien Daily, 31 August 2009

As a young doctoral candidate in 1988, Khoi studied the hill tribes of Ta Nung commune in the central highlands province of Lam Dong Province. It was then that he made his first major archeological discovery: several centuries’ old pieces of pottery from the graves of the Cham people, which he stumbled upon almost accidentally.

After graduating university, Khoi found a job at the Quang Ngai Province Museum and became increasingly intrigued by Sa Huynh culture, especially as he would visit the fishing village personally to visit relatives.

It was in Sa Huynh that the first artifacts related to the ancient culture were found by the French at the turn of the last century. As findings progressed, it came to be known that Sa Huynh lived before the Cham people in societies based around iron tools, jade and glass work and elaborate cremation and burial rituals.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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