Hải Phòng fills excavation holes to preserve ancient stakes

Update: January, 09/2020 - 16:28
Hải Phòng authorities have filled up excavation holes in Cao Quỳ field and marked the stakes for later research. Photo 

HẢI PHÒNG — Agencies in the northern coastal city of Hải Phòng have filled in three excavation holes in Cao Quỳ field, Liên Khê Commune, Thủy Nguyên District, where dozens of 13th century stakes were unearthed in November 2019.

Đỗ Xuân Trung, director of Hải Phòng Museum, said at present local scientists have no proper way to preserve the 36 stakes found in the field.

“We decided not to excavate any more in the field, but examine surrounding areas,” he said.

Lê Văn Thành, secretary of Hải Phòng City's Party Committee, asked the scientists to examine the area thoroughly.

He also asked concerned agencies to adjust building plans around the area and proceed to recognise Cao Quỳ stakes as a historical relic site, preparing to ask for the State’s recognition as a relic site.

Between November 27 and December 19, the Việt Nam Archaeology Institute in co-ordination with Hải Phòng Department of Culture and Sports and Hải Phòng Museum excavated three holes over a total area of 950sq.m.

They found 27 firm dark-red wooden stakes buried in silt. All the stakes’ heads were broken. On the stakes, there are traces of nails for tying up string.

According to radio carbon dating, the stakes were made between 1270 and 1430 AD.

Wooden stakes can be better preserved in soil as at present scientists have no proper preservation method if they take the stakes from the soil. Photo

Scientists initially concluded that the field was on a stream leading to Bạch Đằng River, with big and small wooden stakes installed alternatively creating different layers.

The site might have been part of a trap made by the Đại Việt [then Việt Nam] army to repel Yuan-Mongol invaders’ boats in 1288.

The stakes would have been deployed by Trần Dynasty (1226-1400) fighters as a trap to destroy enemy boats and divert them to follow their planned waterway to Bạch Đằng River, where another stake trap was installed to completely defeat the enemy boats.

Đại Việt army won the battle that time, which was a historic victory to weaken the Yuan-Mongol empire and prevented them from invading Japan and Southeast Asia, according to historians.

The empire invaded Đại Việt three times (1257-58; 1284-85 and 1287-88), and lost it all.

Traces of the same wooden stakes have been found in Yên Giang, Đồng Vạn Muối and Đồng Má Ngựa in northern province of Quảng Ninh. VNS