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Ancient tomb site uncovered

Update: July, 06/2010 - 09:16

Well preserved: The Phung Nguyen burial plot found in Dinh Trang, Dong Anh District. — Photo courtesy of the Viet Nam Archaeology Institute

Well preserved: The Phung Nguyen burial plot found in Dinh Trang, Dong Anh District. — Photo courtesy of the Viet Nam Archaeology Institute

HA NOI — Archaeologists working at a site in Ha Noi's Dong Anh District have stumbled across 11 tombs dating back to the Phung Nguyen culture, days before they were about to wind up the dig.

The Phung Nguyen remains, the best-preserved of any found in and around the city, date back about 4,000 years, archaeologists from the Viet Nam Archaeology Institute said.

The tombs were discovered 1.5m below ground.

"All the tombs are of people who were living during the Phung Nguyen civilisation, date back 3,500 to 4,000 years," said Lai Van Toi, PhD, who is in charge of excavating the site.

One of the tombs, provisionally called number nine, contained the well-preserved remains of a woman aged between 35-40, Nguyen Laân Cuong, deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Archaeologists Association told Viet Nam News.

The woman was about 1.55m tall and was buried face up, with her arms lying by her sides and her head bent towards her left shoulder, Cuong said.

Her skull was a long ovoid shape, and her eye sockets were relatively low in her face. She also had a large nose.

Typical of the aristocracy of the Phung Nguyen culture in Xom Ren in the northern province of Phu Tho, her front-teeth had been removed, as was the case with the other skeletons unearthed. Skeletons dating from the Phung Nguyen culture found in Dong Dau in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, Hang To in Son La and Man Bac in Ninh Binh were also found to be missing their front teeth.

The custom was popular among the ancient peoples of south China, Japan and Oceanaria.

Some ceramic objects were found on the woman's left thigh and the left side of her hip. Archaeologists also found traces of red dust on her left knee bone, as has been seen in other ancient tombs.

The Dinh Trang site has been excavated seven times. During the last excavation, archaeologists found a total of 11 tombs, eight of which contained skeletons and teeth mostly of children.

Archaeologists said further research would be conducted on the tombs to learn more about the Phung Nguyen culture and the Dong Son civilisation, which dates back 2,000-3,000 years and existed in today Phu Tho, Yen Bai, Hoa Binh, Ha Noi, and the central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh. — VNS

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