Prehistoric farm tools, cave paintings found in NE Vietnam

Archaeologists recently found something unique in the northeastern province of Ha Giang: a set of five stone hoes dating back to 4,000 years ago.

An ancient drawing on a cave wall discovered in Kho My Cave of Quan Ba District [Credit: Trinh Nang Chung]
The set was first unearthed accidentally by family members of Nguyen Van Hoi in Yen Minh Town when they were preparing to build a house. The stone hoes were carved in quadrangle form and polished smoothly. The hoes were found displayed next to one another with traces of burnt coal nearby.

After examining them carefully, scientists confirmed that the tools were made of hard riolit stone, which is abundant in the area. The tools measure 18cm in length and 7cm in width and are 2.5cm thick. Based on traces on the tools and their chipped edges, experts believe that they were tied to sticks, which served as handles, and used for quite a while.

Scientists are still examining the surrounding area.

Prof Trinh Nang Chung, head of the Research Department of the Viet Nam Archaeology Institute, confirmed that the tools were from the Late Neolithic - Early Metal Age, 3,500 to 4,000 years ago.

"The finding marks the use of stone hoes in agriculture at the time, which was suitable to farming conditions in the local [Dong Van] karst plateau," Chung told Viet Nam News.

The Dong Van karst plateau of Ha Giang Province covers four districts: Dong Van, Meo Vac, Yen Minh and Quan Ba.

In the same expedition, the scientists examined drawings in Kho My Cave in Tung Van Commune of Quan Ba District. The paintings depict human figures with two horns on each head dancing with their arms open. They were found on the cave wall 30m from the cave gate, within the reach of a normal adult.

Chung said the sketches were made with powder from local dark red stones mixed with resin and water. Yet the date of the paintings was still being researched, he said.

The latest archaeological findings have enriched the area's cultural heritage and will attract more tourists to the karst plateau, which was named in a list of global geopark networks by the UNESCO in 2010.

Source: Viet Nam News [September 11, 2012]

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