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Expert denies Quảng Bình grave is ancient

Update: September, 09/2017 - 09:00
A Quảng Bình expert denies this monolith grave is an ancient one. — Photo
Viet Nam News

QUẢNG BÌNH — After an initial visual survey, a Quảng Bình expert said that the grave recently unearthed by local farmers is not an ancient one, but actually dates to the era of the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802-1945). More testing, however, remains to be done.

Nguyễn Mậu Nam, director of the local Department of Culture and Sports, led an expert group to the site in Pháp Kệ Village in Quảng Phương Commune on Friday to examine the cubic monolith grave unearthed on Wednesday.

Nam said this grave is old and might have been built for a rich person who lived in the country’s last monarchical era.

He denied the popular local theory that the grave was constructed for an 11th century prince because “no fencing and gate system” was found at the site. Nam added that the characters transcribed on the monolith surface were faded, making the initial dating process more difficult.

“This is not also a grave for Champa people as the Champa did not have burial formations like this,” Nam told local media.

However, he failed to offer conclusive evidence to support his comments, such as via forensic tests on the monolith or bones inside the grave.

An archeologist, who did not want to be named, said Nam’s comments were made after an initial visual survey of the grave. Further archaeological work could uncover other clues.

“A fencing and gate system could fall down due to deterioration over time,” he said.  

Earlier, farmers in the village dug to remove the roots of bushes and found the 0.5m under the ground. They found Chinese Hán characters transcribed on a single stone used as the grave cover, and guessed that the grave was an ancient one.

The site is located 1.5km from the Cồn Nền archeological site, where thousands of stone, bronze, iron, ceramic farming tools and daily items were found. The oldest items date back to 3,500 years ago, inspiring locals’ theory that the newly discovered grave could also be thousands of years old.

The elderly in the village said the bushes at the site had been kept untouched for hundreds of years. Officials in the commune blocked curious locals from the site as they waited for the expert group to arrive.

It is unusual to find a person buried in a monolith grave like this one in fields around populated areas of Việt Nam. — VNS

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