“Dong Son culture” was named for Dong Son archaeological relic discovered in 1924, Dong Son commune, next by Ma River, Thanh Hoa province, Vietnam.
The first excavations were made in 1924-1932 under the instruction of L. Pajot, a tax bureau’s officer and an antique collector in Thanh Hoa. The term “Dong Son culture” was firstly suggested by an Austrian archaeologist R. Heine - Geldern in 1934.
Vietnamese archaeological studies since 1954 up to now have worked out that Dong Son culture was a culture under Iron Age lasting in a period of around 1000 years, from VIII century BC to I century AD. Somewhere, it could last to II-III century AD.
Dong Son culture located in the North of Vietnam, from the Northern border to Deo Ngang mountain (connecting Ha Tinh and Quang Binh province). It is closed to Red River, Ma River and Lam River.
Dong Son Bronze Drum
The relic density is very high. Around 500 relics are known to be Dong Son culture in Vietnam including resident relics, burial relics, resident-burial relics, workshop relics, resident-workshop relics.
Bronze jar with animal and dancing human decoration
Dong Son culture can be divided into some types as: Duong Co culture, Red River culture, Dong Son culture or Ma River culture, Lang Vac culture or Lam River culture. Besides, based on the functions, it can be grouped into 7 types as:
1. Weapon: arrows, daggers, swords, axes, crossbows
2. Working tools: Axes, picks, spades, ploughshare, sickles, drills, chisels
3. Living tools: Jars, urns, vases, trays, plates, vessels, pots, kettles, lamps
4. Music instruments: Bells, drums
Bell with elephant decoration
5. Jewelries: Bracelets, earrings, belts
6. Statues: Human statues or animal statues
7. Grave goods: Used for burial, almost are made of bronze and living wares
Dong Son culture’s bronze wares are easily recognized for its characteristics such as shape, color (rusty bronze) and pattern of decoration.
Lamp in shape of kneeing man
The process of 90 years of finding and studying about Dong Son culture says how importance of Dong Son culture in Vietnamese history. It made foundation for an establishment of a later state of Hung Kings or Van Lang kingdom, the first Vietnamese state.
Thúy Hà (summary)
English: Tran Trang
- Hà Văn Tấn. Dong Son culture in Vietnam. H, nxb KHXH, 1994
- Phạm Minh Huyền. Dong Son culture – Unification and diversity. H, nxb KHXH, 1996