Within an archaeological study project for celebrating the Millennial Anniversary of Thang Long - Hanoi, the VNMH has collaborated with the Hanoi's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the National Steering Committee to undertake a survey and excavations at Dong Co temple relic (Nguyen Xa village, Minh Khai commune, Tu Liem district, Hanoi).
The bronze drum was a special object and very close to the Vietnamese ancient people. The tradition of worshiping the God of the Bronze Drum has become a national folk religion. So far, it is known for some relics where worshipping the God of the Bronze Drum across the country, including the Dong Co temple in Nguyen Xa village, Minh Khai commune, Tu Liem district, Hanoi. According to written documents and legends, the god of the bronze drum had assisted Ly kings to conquer enemies and a temple was built for worshipping him.
By now it is very tough to understand how the temple looked like in the past. We have excavated 9 holes in an area of 150m2. The holes were dug from 1m to 1,8m depth. Remaining of architecture, culture and tombs presumed to belong to Dong Son - Han periods, Tran dynasty, Le dynasty... have been discovered.
Through the geographical development and with the objects and traces found in the holes excavated, we can say that the relic located in a place of long history, on a high area (near mounds, hills) and near rivers where suitable to be a residence for human.
The historical narrations have been proved quite clearly through the holes. Especially, Ly dynasty's ceramic objects and Tran dynasty's architectural remnants have been discovered. However, the remaining that we found are just some traces and scraps, while the foundation of the architectural building has not been found yet. We wonder if it is remnants of the temple that mentioned in the book of Dai Viet su ky toan thu (recorded history of Vietnam)?
In Le dynasty (17th – 18th centuries), the geographical layer of the excavated holes showed a large amount of construction materials, particularly the roof tile samples. The remnants of furnaces for firing construction materials were also found, but not the foundation of the temple.
Considering the layer belonged to Nguyen Dynasty, the temple could be identified better through traces of foundation in the west and east. This may be the foundation of the temple that existed till 1952 before moving to the current location.
In this excavation, we really paid attention to the furnaces dated to Le dynasty. Those furnaces are still in good condition and have a "special" design. They will be moved to the VNMH Museum for the preservation and exhibition.
Some photos during the research and excavation:
Dr. Nguyen Van Doan (Deputy Director of VNMH)
EN: Tran Trang