On the afternoon of May 27, 2022, in Buon Me Thuot city, the Vietnam National Museum of History in collaboration with Dak Lak Museum held the conference to announce the preliminary results of the second excavation at the Thac Hai site.
Participants of the conference included Dr. Nguyen Van Doan - Director of the Vietnam National Museum of History, Dr. Nguyen Gia Doi - Acting Director of Institute of Archeology, Mr. Thai Hong Ha - Director of Dak Lak Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr. Dinh Mot - Director of Dak Lak Museum, Representative of the People’s Committee of Ea Sup district, the People’s Committee of Ia Jloi commune, researchers, local agencies and press agencies.
Panoramic photograph of the conference
The Thac Hai archaeological site is located at Hamlet 6, Ia Jloi commune, Ea Sup district, Dak Lak province. This site was discovered in early 2020 and was excavated by the Vietnam National Museum of History and Dak Lak Museum for the first time in early 2021.
Aerial photograph of Thac Hai site
The results of the first excavation indicated that Thac Hai is a 3000-year-old drill bit workshop. Reconizing the importance of Thac Hai site for the historical research of the Central Highlands in particular and of Vietnam in general, and especially realizing the danger of the site being eroded by floods from the Ea H’leo river, the Vietnam National Museum of History and Dak Lak Museum continue to carry out the second excavation at the site, with the aim of gathering more valuable scientific information and promptly bringing up precious objects from the ground in order to preserve and promote their value to serve the public.
Delegates visiting and discussing about the objects excavated at Thac Hai site
At the conference, on behalf of the excavation team, the team leader - Dr. Truong Dac Chien reported the preliminary results of the 2nd excavation of Thac Hai site. According to the report, archaeologists have opened three excavation units with a total area of nearly 60m2. The archaeological stratigraphy is over 2m deep and is divided into five layers, reflecting the long and continuous residence of the ancient inhabitants.
Dr. Truong Dac Chien presenting the excavation results at the conference
During the excavation process, archaeologists discovered a total of 16 burials, a potsherd cluster, a dark-earthern pit and especially the remains of a tubular kiln.
The remains of the tubular kiln
Archaeologists have also unearthed a large number of objects with materials of stone, ceramic, glass, agate, ect. Among the excavated objects, the most significant one is the drill bit assembalge with 1596 specimens. The assembalge includes raw materials, cores, flakes, unfinished products, finished products that reflected the manufacturing process of drill bits in Thac Hai.
Different types of drill bits
Unfinished drill bits
Glass beads were discovered in a considerable amount during this excavation. A total of 1244 glass beads were collected, of which up to 1058 beads (85%) were found in the Unit 3, with a density of 78 beads/m2. The beads are monochromatic, the common colors are red-brown, blue, green, orange, yellow, brown, etc. In addition, there are also many broken beads. They are all typical Indo-Pacific monochromatic beads in Vietnam and Southeast Asia in the Protohistory.
Glass beads discovered at Thac Hai site
Basing on the features and artefacts, archaeologists believed that Thac Hai is a multifunctional site. The site functioned as a settlement and cemetary, as well as a large-scale stone drill workshop. In addition, there was evidence suggesting that the production of glass beads was probably practiced at Thac Hai site. Thac Hai site is dated back to 3,500 - 2000 years ago with two different periods. The early period (Late Neolithic) is represented by the layer containing drill bits, jar burials, inhumations, and burial items are mainly made of stone and pottery. Meanwhile, the late period (Iron Age) represented by the layer containing glass beads, kiln remains and jar burials.
Dr. Nguyen Van Doan giving speech at the conference
Dr. Nguyen Gia Doi giving speech at the conference
Mr. Thai Hong Ha giving speech at the conference
At the conference, the delegates proposed to continue excavating Thac Hai site on a large scale, in order to collect precious objects hidden in the ground as soon as possible. The concerned departments should build up an archaeological planning project in Dak Lak province to effectively manage cultural heritages. The cooperation between the Vietnam National Museum of History and the Provincial Museum should be promoted with a long-term research program to bring the cultural heritage of Dak Lak province closer to the national and international public.
EN: Thu Hien