Aug 1, 2010

A new understanding

VGP - With the Vietnamese government’s permission in late 2002 and early 2003 to open to the public the largest-ever archaeological site near Ba Đình Square in the center of Hà Nội, Việt Nam’s urban archaeology has been officially born.

A corner of the excavation site

There has never been such an archaeological site in our country – or even in the region – not only because of its size (thousands of square meters) but also because of its significance. As archaeological language goes, the above-a-thousand-year-old cultural heritage of the capital city has been touched, seen, and possessed.

Millions of historical objects have been found recently in an area which is small in comparison with Hà Nội – Thăng Long Citadel – Hà Nội.

The most precious, important, and meaningful thing uncovered in that excavation is the architectural ruins (together with architectural relics and objects) from the Sui and Tang dynasties in the 7th-9th centuries to the Lý-Trần-Lê dynasties to the Nguyễn dynasty.

Việt Nam’s historical archaeology in broad terms and architectural archaeology in narrow terms have just confirmed that Vietnamese traditional architectures underwent pressure through the wood-connected structures, rather than the wall structures as in Western Europe. The backbone of this structure is the pillar system. All the weight of the whole building is placed on these pillars. Large stones are often placed at the foot of these pillars to prevent a potential collapse of the building.

These kinds of stone have been discovered in that excavation. However, in that position, the earth foundation is weak (near rivers). Therefore, it is carefully reinforced by holes, stakes, and gravel. With all this knowledge, we could now understand the age of old architecture. This is important, because remaining architecture in the world do not process the wattles, length, and width like this.

In conclusion, the archaeological work done in the Ba Đình area has been a success. Many priceless relics and objects have been taken out from the earth’s womb./.

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