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With an area of 200 square meters and over 1,000 exhibits, this section introduces different stages of
prehistoric development in Vietnam¶s territories. The primitive people, to exist, created famous successive cultures from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic periods, about 300,000 years to 4,000 years ago. The whole exhibition room is divided into two periods:
- Paleolithic period with vestiges and cultures in Nui Do, Than Sa, and Son Vi. Typical artifacts: handaxes, coarse chopping tools, anthropoids¶ teeth and fossil animal skeletons, grapefruit-section-shaped instruments, pebble tools, axes with horizontal or vertical blades, etc. - Neolithic period with the cultures of Hoa Binh, Bac Son, Quynh Van, Da But, Cai Beo, Ha Long, Hoa Loc, Xom Con, etc. Typical artifacts include short axes, dish-shaped tools, oval tools, almond-shaped instruments, ceramics, rectangular axes, shouldered axes and the like. This collection proves the development of stone manipulating techniques from c oarse axes to various tools of the primitive people.
The exhibition section starts with the relics and artifacts (hand-axes, coarse chopping tools, flakes of
the early Paleolithic period discovered at the archaeological sites of Nui Do, Quan Yen (Thanh Hoa), Hang Gon, Dau Giay (Xuan Loc, Dong Nai). Especially, there are teeth of the anthropoids and the animal fossils skeletons found in the rock-shelters of Tham Khuyen and Tham Hai (Tan Van, Lang Son) and other palaeobiologic vestiges at Phai Ve, Keo Leng (Lang Son), Hang Hum (Yen Bai). These are the oldest evidences of the primitive people in Vietnam, about 300,000-400,000 years ago. The late Paleolithic vestiges are represented by the two archaeological cultures of Than Sa (Thai Nguyen) and Son Vi (Phu Tho), about 15,000 to 30,000 years ago. The common feature of these two cultures is the use of pebbles to manifacture instruments with different techniques. In Than Sa, the tools are mainly retouched flake points, meanwhile in Son Vi, the almond-shaped instruments are used.
The next section introduces the vestiges of the Neolithic period with the Hoa Binh Culture, a famous
archaeological culture in Southeast Asia and the world. The Hoa Binh Culture mainly distributed in rock-shelter and caves in Hoa Binh, Ha Nam, Ninh Binh, and Thanh Hoa Provinces. This culture dates back 10,000 to 16,000 years ago. The characteristics of the Hoa Binh Culture is that all tools were manipulated from pebbles by striking and chipping on one face. The tools are rich and used for specific purposes. The exhibits in this sections are short axes, dish-shaped tools, almond-shaped tools and some edge ground axes. The appearance of ceramics and the analysis results of pollen spores are clear evidences for the beginning of a farming agriculture in this region.
The Bac Son Culture (8,000-10,000 years ago) follows the Hoa Binh Culture. There are many artifacts
of this culture ± edge ground axes, grindingstone, pestles and pounding slabs, stones with two parallels hollows (named ³Bac Son marks´), handled axes, ceramics, human skulls ± reflecting the higher development than the Hoa Binh Culture. The Bac Son Culture also distributed among rock shelters and caves in the limestone mountains in the provinces of Lang Son, Thai Nguyen, and Cao Bang. the Bac Son Culture are archaeological vestiges dating back 5,000 -6,000 years ago. The exhibited artifacts include the relics discovered in the coastal shellmound in Quynh Van (Nghe An), Da But (Thanh Hoa), Cai Beo (Hai Phong), Bau Du (Quang Nam), etc.
late Neolithic period is exhibited in the remaining area of the exhibition section, with a large number of relics and artifacts from all corners of the country, from the midlands, highlands, plain to the coast and islands. The primitive people during this period developed their stone manipulating techniques (chipping, sawing, drilling, grinding, filing, pressing, polishing) to the peak of elaborateness
Pebble tools Lower Palaeolithic.These are the vestiges left from grinding and pounding the kernels or fruits on the grinding slab. shoulde red axes. The grinding slab has also some wears and notches. Grinding slab and pestle In the stone tools complex of the Hoa Binh Culture. All the earliest vestiges of the primitive people and their original cultures continuously developing from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic periods in Vietnam are important social material background for the country to enter the Metal Age ± the first stage of the national building with many specific identities. The pestle has some wears or holed notches. rings of beads. The grinding slap was made of sandstone or schist or limestone into varied forms.000 years before present.and aesthetics and made a variety of sophisticated tools and jewelry (rectangular axes. cirea 300. The appearance of the grinding slab and pestle in Hoa Binh culture reflects the change in the way of looking for food and the economic structure of the Hoa Binh men. earrings. The grinding slab has one or two curved sunken surfaces which could be eroded in nature or carved by man. terracotta containers with beautiful decorative patterns). Xuan Loc site. bracelets.000-200. large enough to handle it. The pestle was made of a natural pebble in the form of a cylinder or a weight. the grinding slab and pestles are classified in the type of natural pebble and the quantity is not great. Dong Nai province .
the making of patterns is one of the time-consuming stages. The cultural relics in the late-neolithic sites. chiselled.000-30. It was wheel made and also hand-made. Thai Nguyen province. about 3. Those geometric patterns with a great variety of remarkable motifs and designs being incised. Those impressed decoration patterns were abundant in kinds and shapes.P. Northern Viet Nam Terracotta. there was a great demand in quantity to store. they also expressed the artistic and aesthetic concern of the people. flowers or water waves and so on. vases. creating thus the very specificity of this kind of pottery. as could be seen through the terracotta seals to stamp patterns.neolithic pottery. funneled recipients.500 . Besides. Paddles for impressing decoration on pottery The collection of the impressing paddles discovered in late-neolithic sites is great in number and specific in features. bowls. ear rings and bracelets« bear the specificity of this late. show that people in this period were the agricultors who had a rather high level of pottery making and enable of translating their remarkable specificity. swallow wings. circle with a centre dot. shapes and decorative patterns.000 years before present Nguom rock ± shelter. muscial scores. shrimps. Pots. carved in relief. Particularly the Hoa Loc pottery was decorated with prolifie and beautiful patterns. The late-neolithic people were very intelligent and creative. conical-based recipients. fish scales. The popularity and development of pottery techniques as well as the means to produce highly skilful pottery discovered in great quantity is an evidence of it. The late-neolithic potteries are abundant in quantity. parallelepiped boxes. The faces of these seals were smooth or somewhat curved.000 years B. In the process of making potteries. water drops. Patterns in this period were not merely of technical character. with knobs. the degree of firing was relatively high in quality. Pottery was usually made of sandy clay with a lot of mixtures. . jars. knobbed-lids.4. tureens. impressed. horizontal S. including the abundant and beautiful patterns. preserve and process foods and foodstuffs. so the paste was not soft and usually black in the core. The most popular designs were larvae. On their surface geomatric or revolved patterns were incised. late-neolithic. thus making a contribution to enriching further the treasure of prehistoric potteriy of Vietnam.Stone tools and potsherds Circa 20. punched.
circa 5-7. circa 100. Hai Phong province and Quynh Van.000 years Kéo Lèng cave. Northern Vietnam.Stone tools and jewlries of bonne.Northern Viet Nam Stone tools and potsherds Middle Neolithic.000 years before present Sites of Cai Beo.000 years before present Lang S n province . . Nghe An province stone tools Teeth of Homosapieng Lete pleinstocene .500-4. shell Mai Pha culture. L ng S n province. circa 3.
places of Hoa Binh men The pre-history has sunk into the past for tens of thousands of years. Tham Khuyen. In these caves the archaeologists discovered 10 teeth of apeman (Homo erectus) and many animal bones and teeth already fossilized in the red sediment.000 . All the lower jaw teeth have five tops. one lower canine. yet in the light of the social sciences studies. the facies of the primitive society together with the material.400. the chewing face of the typical Dryopithecus type (type Y5). two upper molars and one lower molar.16. the lower molars of symetrical form. The model of caves. In Vietnam. . one milk-tooth in the upper jaw. the dwelling . From almost those teeth. Among those ten teeth. On the basis of the achievements of many branches of science. the dwelling-places of the Early Neolithic men. one upper incisor. The model of caves. Tan Van commune. these teeth prove that Vietnam in the Pleistocene was already the land where the apemen (Homo erectus) were lived and grown.Lang Son province). The Teeth of Homo erectus apemen Fossilized apemen in Vietnam were discovered for the first time in the two caves Tham Khuyen and Tham Hai. Bình Gia district.000 years B.P. in which the metaconid top is the largest. there remains but the chewing parts and the stump parts have been gnawed away by animals before being fossilized. 300. particularly archaeology. The paleo: anthropologists having studied these fossil teeth remark that all these 10 teeth have the primitive characteristics of large size with developed cingulum. Tham Hai caves (Tan Van . though the locations where fossils are found are still not many with incomplete skulls and not coexisting with the tools. Lang Son province in 1964 and 1965.P.The Teeth of Homo erectus apemen Fossils. Only one upper incisor has its stump left.places of Hoa Binh men About 8.000 years B. the upper molars of cubic or diamond shapes. the dwelling . the National Museum of Vietnamese History has restored and reproduced a complex of caves.000 . spiritual and cultural life has been gradually restored.
The Hoa Binh men resided mainly in caves and rock-shelters which are cool in summer and warm in winter. Bac Ninh and Hanoi). In a wind-shield place. The caves are to be near the river so as to be able to exploit the material to process tools. Southern central Late Neolithic. Many activities happened around this place. Ha Tay. Through the arrangement inside the cave. crabs and fishes. Tools of stone. In the middle of the cave is the fireplace.000 . shells potterie soraments Xom Con culture. During this period. and most important of all is the prevalence of a population of abundant fauna and flora in the valley. Beside him. The caves have smooth floors with quite recesses and receive a lot of sun light. The Hoa Binh cave complex helps the visitors understand more about the life of the Early Neolithic men in Vietnam tens of thousands of years ago. people invented the metallurgical technique to produce instruments and weapons which helped them more effectively . we could see the Hoa Binh men¶s high consciousness of a collective and individual life. From a forest. tending her child.000 years ago) was discovered in 1959 mainly in some midland and plain provinces in North Vietnam (Phu Tho.500 years before present Phung Nguyen Culture The Phung Nguyen Culture (4. Women and children are allowed to live in the wind-shield places. Vinh Phuc.3. a mother is sitting on a bamboo flatform. stream or lake and pond with enough water for their living and a favourable hunting ground and a good supply of natural food such snails. but near to the mouth of the cave. In the complex. we could see two persons working by the fire: the man was processing a stone tool by flakking it directly on his hands. Phung Nguyen is the first culture of the Bronze Age in Vietnam. The fire place which plays an important role in the material and spiritual life is usually placed in the middle of the cave. Far away down in the valley. collecting wild vegetables and looking for snails in the stream. without a stone-pad to do it. They are not so high with the ways easy for men but difficult for animals.bones and teeth of animals. circa 3. women and children are working hard. a woman is using the grinding slab and pestle. men are shouldering the hunted animals back to the cave. These caves are near the river. shrimps.
materials wealth became more abundant. thus leading to the coming into being of some handicrafts. Particularly the small-sized stone objects appeared and became more and more popular with skilful techniques. still looks quiet lively. Obviously.Ceramic production is a handicraft developed strongly during this period. hunting and gathering still played an important role in the then economic life. net-sinkers). cloth weaving and carpentry were developed. This is the first ever discovered stone human figurine. scratches. It was made of nephrit. Though the figurine is not completely intact. bead-rings. The whole face was carved into two symmetrical concave bevels and the line of intersection constituted a high nose bridge. the mode of production changed. Such products as tools. Two proportioned small holes are the two eyes. small but very elaborate. Human figurine At the end of the Neolithic period. the stone processing techniques reached the pinnacle of development. rings. discovered at a jewelry manipulating workshop in Trang Kenh (Hai Phong). generalized method. This stone human figurine should have been one of the skilfully processed things of these workshops. which is imbued with prosperous elements of agricultural dwellers. with the popularization of fishing and hunting tools (arrows. bracelets. intruments and tools were improved. there is the stone figurette of a man recovered in Van Dien (Hanoi). so they are well proportioned and good -looking. The figurine was unearthed at the Van Dien archeological site. . These are the bronze alloys of copper. A large number of artifacts of various materials and categories show that the economy of this period more developed than the previous time. tin and lead.in conquering the nature and improving their life. ornaments were great in quantity and diverse in shape and size. esp ecially in agriculture and husbandry. The majority of ceramic products were made by hand with the potter¶s wheel. The face was made in a stylized. evidencing that the Phung Nguyen people knew about refining bronze. proves that the stone manifacturing skills reached their peak. . both finished and semifinished. drill-bits. creating the living soul to the statue. The Phung Nguyen people could mix sand or other impurities with c to prevent ceramic articles lay from deformation when being dried or baked at a high temperature. near the springs and streams. In this period. including the ornaments making. The decorative patterns and motifs are quite rich (lines. Many stone processing workshops with high professional level were formed. spearheads. however. Especially. .Stone manifacture: The rich collection of production tools. incised design with letter S pattern. earrings. making it more vivid. it also shows the balanced and precise head- . depicting a man in the half kneeling. half standing position. including chisels. The vestiges of this culture are almost the open -air settlement sites scattered at the high plain. in the river basins and high hills and mounds in the plains and coasts. soft bands of symmetrical triangles). saw blades. Most of stone tools and jewelry are smoothed. Small clay spindle whorls and other stone instruments prove that thread spinning.Bronze casting: No bronze working tools but some lumps of brass and patina were found at some archaeological sites.
Burnt rice. This culture distributed in the same area of the Phung Nguyen people. Many relics and traces of bronze casting craft (patina. harpoons. probably this is a manifestation of worshipping the genitals . Bac Ninh. ponds and lakes in the provinces of Phu Tho. springs. Bac Giang and Bac Ninh. Ceramic products were skillfully made by the Go Mun people. fishing hooks made of bone.On the head . the people still continued hunting and gathering activities beside agricultural production. the then ceramic articles are often blackish gray or light red. proving that the artisan knew very well the human body structure. metallurgy and bronze casting techniques were highly developed.The male sex of the figurine is clearly reflected. pointed instruments. This proves that the small figurine was worn round the neck as a religious ornament. The archaeological sites of this culture are scattered on low hills.top of the statue there remains a portion of a holed notch to thread through. Vinh Phuc). Yen Lac. the hunting remained a provision of food because a lot of bones and teeth of wild animals could be found at these archaeological sites. along the streams.a common belief of the population practising wet-rice agriculture in the Southeast Asia region. fishing-hooks. including rectangular axes. arrows. animal bone and hunting tools (spears. This is a human ronderbosse rarely found in the sites of the pre-Dong Son culture of Vietnam. Bronze working tools were diversified. They had a developed and sustainable economy based on the cultivation of rice and other crops. sand and other impurities and baked at 800-9000C. chisels. especially the bronze casting techniques. A large number of stone jewelry and original bands of decorative patterns on ceramic products are the evidences of a rich spiritual life and high aesthetics of the Dong Dau people. . Dong Dau Culture The Dong Dau Culture was discovered in 1962 at Dong Dau (Minh Tan. Especially. Go Mun Culture The Go Mun Culture was discovered in 1961 at Tu Xa (Phong Chau. stone and bronze) were discovered at many archaeological sites of this culture. scratching. Ha Tay. Vinh Phuc. Some stone tools were still used. mainly oblique-working edge axes. beating and embossing.body-legs proportion. Besides. The bronze casting was inherited and further developed by the Go Mun people. . The economic development during this period. netsinkers. agricultural crops and develop husbandry. printing. The main method of earning of the Go Mun people was to cultivate wet rice. The Dong Dau people lived open -air on the hills and mounds of the Northern midlands in the provinces of Phu Tho. Ha Tay and Hanoi. arrows. Vinh Phuc. wastes and finished bronze tools such as fishing hooks. The traditional decorative patterns of symmetrical geometry on the Go Mun ceramics are abundantly created by carving. Made of the mixtures of clay. harpoons) were found at most of the archaeological sites of this period. Phu Tho). harpoons. mould pieces. The stone figurine has two noticeable details: . Obviously. is a precondition for the formation of the Dong Son Culture and the Van Lang-Au Lac State later. spearheads. bronze casting moulds. jewelry.
weapons account for a considerable share. basins.D. Formed and flourished on the basis of a long combination of the previous cultures. to the 2nd century A. etc. lasting from the 7th century B.. breastplates. . saucers.Agriculture: With the development of bronze casting. jugs. including axes. Some jars were excavated containing jewelry and other instruments. shears). . Ma and Ca. On the hit of a l sword found at Lach Truong (Thanh Hoa). spears. the Dong Son people could produce many sharp agricultural tools (hoes. Some daggers have the T shaped handles. spades. harpoons. mainly concentrating in the basins of three big rivers of Hong. there is a woman in a long dress. It was this period when the Vietnamese people were the master of materials and bronze processing techniques. birds and bands of concentric/tangential circles and geometric patterns. ash or remains of the deceased. . this culture was broadly distributed from the northern borderline to the southern part of the Ngang Pass (Quang Binh). vases.Dong Son Culture The Dong Son Culture was discovered in 1924 in Thanh Hoa.C. onion bulb. hundreds of bronze ploughshares were recovered. even skulls. In the collection of the Dong Son bronze objects. pots. arrows. Hanoi). the majority of which are jars with original decorative patterns combining human figures. They also grew many other crops. proving that the Dong Son people knew to exploit cattle¶s strength in agricultural activities.Bronze casting: The Dong Son Culture was the peak of the Bronze Age and the early period of the Iron Age in Vietnam. or women wearing short skirts. The metallurgy and bronze casting techniques peaked in this period. Household utensils include jars. with various types and rich decorative motifs. with various categories and rich decorative patterns vividly reflecting the ancient Vietnamese society in the first stage of the national building. animals. At Co Loa (Dong Anh.
Axes Bronze.2cm. brooches. tombs laid with stones. In the Dong Son culture. L: 7. There are different kinds of bronze bracelets (tube bracelets. Arrowheads. Ha Dong-Ha Tay province. quartz. bronze drums: Bronze drums are the most famous artifacts of the Dong Son people.500 years B. The Ha Dong original bronze axe below is classified as a rare and precious pediform axe due to its shape and beautiful decorative patterns. In the collection of bronze Dong Son axes. agate and colored glass) were also used in bracelets. raising the javalins in their hands over their heads . It is 9. 2000-2500 BP Intact. These were production tools of common use and at the same time used as a weapon ofstrong point of the Dong Son people. those with asymetric blades come to be one of many characteristics and particularities of this culture.The jewelry of the Dong Son people are abundant. prevailing in every ancient culture. Funeral The burial methods of the Dong Son people are different. Gemstones (green limestone. buckles.5cm long. The axe looks like a curly toed boot. Hai Phong) ± a distinctive kind of tomb. On one side of the blade was decorated a vivid scene of hunting by boat framed with bands of double-lozenges. They could exploit soil graves. two of them on the front of it. Axes Axe is a popular production tool and weapon. especially bronze. The hunting is described as follows: a curly-nose boat with three hunters standing on the bow. They are made of different materials. those with padlocks. those having T-shaped section). we can better understand the material and spiritual life of the Dong Son people. necklaces. the blade 5cm wide. jar-burials and boat shaped coffin burials (that at Viet Khe. Through these artifacts.P. earrings. about 2. axes were discovered in many sites in a great quantity and diversity in shape and utility. bronze Dong Son culture. The burial of funeral instruments and bronze drums reflects the then conception that the deceased also needed to use tools to recreate their afterworld life.
as if they are to throw them. The bronze Co Loa arrows are characterized by: the three-sided pyramidal or conical stem. while the third person standing at the back with no weapon. 2000-2500 BP Chipped. Arrow-heads Arrow-heads are the type of long range weapon. commonly found in the collection of bronze Dong Son weapons. D: 7. Co Loa. This kind of arrow denotes not only the successive evolution of the traditional three-sided arrows of the Red River people. which is trying to obstruct the running away deer. his right hand (hidden) support the gong and his left hand raises at the rear as if he is beating the gong to drive the animal in. Apart from that. the decorative patterns help the researchers understand more about the social life of the ancient Vi t in this historical period. Under the bow are two deer with large horns. long muzzle. Ma Tre (Co Loa. wing and haft discovered in Cau Vuc. Dong Anh. Ha Noi City. They were found abundant and diverse in form. The Ha Dong bronze axe is in itself a valuable object.P. Bracelet. one with a slender belly and the other a big belly (probably manifesting the male and female deer). They are often unearthed in great quantity in archaeological sites such as Cau Vuc. with a slender belly. They are also often found in the set of burial goods in the large tombs such as Thieu Duong (Thanh Hoa province). Lang Vac (Nghe An province). enriching the collection of famous bronze Dong Son axes.3cm.They are stretching their legs to run away.200 years B. In front of them is a hunting dog. Arrow-heads Bronze. but he carries a round object on his belly. bronze Dong Son culture. The long haft in oval or poligonal section. probably the gong. slim wing projected over the stem-axe. Such features tally well the . about 2. but also the result of convergence of two sources: the Red River and the progressive technical factors from the threesided arrows of the Eurasian steppe people through their confluence and intrusion into the habitat of the Dong Son people. Ha Noi City). The hunting by boat is so lively. Dong Anh. but the most noticable among other are the threesided arrows with stem.
shows that when Trieu Da troops who invaded the country of Au Lac of Thuc An Duong Vuong for the first time had to bear the humiliating defeats. The historical events in the year 180 B. partly because they had to confront the strong force of these long range weapons. the pirced breach being large. particularly when these arrows were shot en mass from the arrow system of general Cao Lo. These Co Loa bronze arrows can fully meet these technical quirements. maintenance of equilibrum while flying. sending fear to the enemy troops. Trieu Da himsefl to shout: these are divine arrows which the legend of those miraculous bows and arrows has been deeply imprinted in the memories of the Vietnamese people until today.aerodynamic principle applied to the flying objects in space: reduction of friction.C. . the trajectory being stable ensuring thus precision when it reaches the target.
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