Inside the 2,000-year-old tomb in Ho Chi Minh City

More than 200 graves with many remains and burial items at Giong Ca Vo, Can Gio district are being preserved before welcoming visitors.

Giong Ca Vo relic (Hoa Hiep hamlet, Long Hoa commune) about 60 km from the center of Ho Chi Minh City was discovered more than 30 years ago. From the beginning of 2021, after the first excavation (1994), this relic was excavated again. Archaeologists discovered 224 jar tombs, 15 earthen tombs and relics that were cremated.

Giong Ca Vo is a prehistoric relic, showing the interference of many different cultures. First, this relic carries indigenous elements of Dong Nai culture, then strongly influenced by Sa Huynh culture. In addition, this relic also has cultural features of the island residents of the Sa Huynh – Kalanay tradition, and subtly elements of Dong Son culture and Han culture.

On September 15, at the second excavation site, the staff in charge continued to preserve and process relics and remains. “Only in an area of ​​200 m2, we found hundreds of graves dating back about 2,000 years and maybe around here with thousands of m2 there are still many other tomb populations,” said Nguyen Van Manh (left corner). ), in charge of excavation said.

At one corner of the excavation pit, dozens of graves and jars are placed close together of all sizes, many of which are no longer intact in their original shape after thousands of years lying underground.

According to the unit presiding over the excavation, the jar tomb is a type of burial in which the dead person is put their body or remains in a jar (lu) made of terracotta, with an average diameter of 40-70 cm.

A jar tomb is still quite intact, inside includes remains and burial items.

According to the Institute of Archeology, jars are the biggest and most defining feature of Sa Huynh culture, which flourished around 2,500-2,000 years ago, distributed mainly in central Vietnam.

Another burial jar is not intact, has not been cleaned of soil, but still can see the burial items are pieces of seashells. According to Mr. Manh, during the excavation process also discovered a few graves of quite a small size to bury young children.

The use of ceramic jars indicates a change in burial patterns. Before that, the dead were buried in an earth grave right at their residence, without a coffin. At this stage, the concept of the world of the dead seemed more sacred, so the ancients used ceramic jars as coffins, buried with many burial items, and then placed them in the same area, as the cemetery today. now.

Currently, the group of workers in charge of excavation has 5-7 people, the largest time is more than 30 people. These days, they mainly do conservation work, carefully cleaning and peeling off the soil layer of each relic and remains in the grave.

“Each grave has different burial items in terms of quantity and type, but mainly ceramic jars, earrings, bracelets, gems, necklaces… The relics of more than 2,000 years have very high value, so everyone People have to do it meticulously and thoroughly,” Manh said.

A set of remains of the earth grave is still quite intact located next to the graves and jars.

Two jars are used by archaeologists to glue the fragments to return to their original shape after processing inside. This takes about half a month to complete a grave, the more broken jars, the longer recovery will take.

“Of the more than 200 tombs and jars that have just been excavated, it is possible that about 70 will be recovered, and some will be left in their original state when they were excavated. This will be convenient for research, conservation and welcome visitors.” , said the person in charge.

Outside the pit, a few relics from the burial mounds are being temporarily preserved. Behind is the living and resting camp of the group of excavation workers.

Relics are customarily buried such as two-headed animal earrings, three-pointed earrings, gold leaves, gemstone bracelets, crystal stone beads, horn-shaped ceramic artifacts, vases, ceramic bowls, remains… .

Double-headed animal earrings made of stone, blue color with sophisticated design. Next to it are gold items, iron island chains and other jewelry.

The pots, pots, and bowls are made of ceramic with delicate patterns.

Most of the monument is being kept in place, with the goal of building an “outdoor museum”. This method is said to both keep the monument intact, clearly see the entire development through each stage, and make the excavation of the remaining relics easier. In the coming time, the Department of Culture and Sports of Ho Chi Minh City will implement the project of a house to display and visit this relic.

Giong Ca Vo relic and the second excavation hole are covered with corrugated iron for conservation, you have to take a boat across the river to enter. This is a red mound, about 1.5 m above the surrounding surface, located on the left side of the Ha Thanh River and surrounded by mangroves.

The relic was first discovered in 1993 by local people while farming. During the 1994 excavation on an area of ​​230 m2, archaeologists discovered hundreds of tombs and jars with burial items. Six years later, this relic was registered to zone 29,000 m2 for protection.

Giong Ca Vuong archaeological site was recognized by the Ministry of Culture in 2000, belonging to the group of national historical and cultural relics that need to be protected.

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