|Old as living memory: One of the ancient wells. — VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau
QUANG TRI (VNS) — Authorities in Quang Tri Province are proceeding with work to preserve historic wells, estimated to be thousands of years old, that have been in a state of disrepair for decades.
According to the province's Centre for Landscapes and Monuments Conservation, the work started several weeks ago after nearby residents complained about the condition of the wells.
The centre said it does not know the exact age of the 14 stone wells, but the structures have stood in the Gio An Commune of Gio Linh District for as long as residents can remember.
According to Nguyen Quang Chuc, the centre's director, the wells were damaged by American bombs during the war. Chuc said the centre is planning opportunities for tourism once the wells are restored.
Conservation work on the wells' stone canals is nearing completion, and improvements have also been made to reservoirs, streams leading to rice paddies and paths leading to the site.
Rocks that have been removed from their original sites are being returned to those locations in an attempt to preserve the wells' integrity. Broken rocks will also be replaced.
Local residents said the wells have been a key feature of the commune for many generations. They are the primary source of fresh water for their crops when drought hits the region. However, in recent years, the water level of streams that flow from the wells has been critically low, forcing residents to brainstorm conservation measures.
The system, including 30 wells, was recognised as a national heritage item in 2001. Locals consider them a cultural legacy, and they have contributed to conservation measures by bringing rocks to the site. The wells are said to be manmade works constructed from rocks arranged in a structural fashion.
Locals expect the country's leading archeologists to thoroughly inspect the wells, taking into account their recent topographic changes, in order to better conserve the structures. — VNS