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Relics unravel Cham history
Publication Date : 13-12-2012
Many valuable artefacts from the Cham culture have been found in the southern central province of Binh Thuan. The new discoveries are important for ongoing research on the ancient culture, according to Nguyen Xuan Ly, director of the provincial museum.
The Champa Kingdom reigned over the central coast of modern-day Vietnam between the 4th and 13th centuries. Remnants of its culture include towers, folk songs and dances and traditional festivals.
Recently, two ancient walls were discovered by archaeologists working on the preservation of the Po Tam Tower area in Tuy Phong District, the earliest tower in the central region, ranked a national heritage in 1996.
Po Tam heritage site has six towers: two already collapsed and four have been seriously downgraded.
Researchers believe that the two 1.9m-high walls were built in the 8th century, at the same time as towers found in the rest of the area. Built out of brick, with a stone foundation, they surround a path to one of the two collapsed towers.
The discovery provided researchers with new insights into the ancient civilisation, said archaeologist Le Dinh Phung from the Vietnam Archaeology Association.
"Before, we thought the six towers in this area were different from others because their main gates face south instead of east like all the other Cham towers we've found in Vietnam," Phung said. "This discovery led us to conclude that this is the main tower in the site, and the constructions still conform to the Cham culture's religion and tradition, which was adapted from the Champa Kingdom," he said.
The archaeologist hypothesised that the collapsed tower could be the main building in the area, while the parts previously discovered were surrounding buildings. An upcoming excavation by researchers from the Binh Thuan provincial Museum and the Archaeology Association will shed more light on this question, he said.
Ly, the provincial museum director, said fishermen had donated nearly 300 artefacts dating from the 15th century to the museum.
Many vestiges of the Sa Huynh Culture (1000 BC and AD 200) found in the coastal districts of Ham Thuan Bac and Ham Thuan Nam proved that many different cultures existed in the province, said Nguyen Van Cuong, director of the National Museum of Vietnamese History.
However, he expressed concern that illegal mining may destroy these precious artefacts.