The ancient Luy Lau relic site located in Thanh Khuong commune, Thuan Thanh district, Bac Ninh province. It was one of the first and largest urban cities in northern Vietnam. It had the largest amount and diversified objects compared to other archaeological sites in the early centuries A.D. Luy Lau was not only the center for politics and economy of the nation but also for culture and religion, especially Buddhism. Thus, studying on Luy Lau is very important for studying Vietnamese history in the first 10 centuries A.D as it helps to reveal about a critical history period that so-called "a period for preparing the conditions for the establishment and development of the later glorious Dai Viet civilization".
There have been 8 excavations made for Luy Lau. In particular, the 7th excavation carried out by Vietnam National Museum of History collaborated with University of East Asia, Japan has made a breakthrough with crucial findings. The results of this excavation were published in Jan/2015. This article wishes to present some more information about the excavation after some corrections were done.
Some types of bricks
- Over 1200 total objects and samples were collected ranging from different types and materials and dates in construction materials, working tools, daily wares made of earthenware, stone, iron and dating Dong Son, Han, Liu Chao and Sui Tang and modern time.
- Those samples revealed how complicated the relic structure was. The construction materials as bricks and tiles guaranteed for the existence of the buildings. Through researches on the construction materials, we would like to classify them into two basic types: red and grey. The grey ones had the earlier dates ranging from Donghan to Liu Chao; while the red could date to Sui Tang or later. This situation provided a fact that there had been two construction periods in big scale there, and this also matched with the time for twice periods when the walls were built.
Types of tubular tiles
- The daily wares including bowl, tureen, pot, ink slab... made of glazed ceramic and terra-cotta indicate the existence of a community living there.
The remnants such as the boiler of metal or slag demonstrate a workshop for producing the metal wares. Besides, casting net and spindle whorl reflex the fishing and weaving industry.
Some types of glazed ceramic
- By comparing this collection with those of previous excavations, in particular with the collection of Bai Dong Dau in 1986, we recognized that there are no differentiations between them. This shows the fact that the living conditions inside or outside the citadel were same. This refused the hypothesis proposed by the scholars of the 1986 excavation that the life in Bai Dong Dau site represented for Viet style while the life inside the Luy Lau citadel represented for Han style. Certainly, the aboriginal inhabitants occupied as a mass resource in Luy Lau citadel.
Some kinds of glazed ceramic and terra-cotta
The first time that the samples of casting mould for Dong Son bronze drum have been found in huge quantity and they laid in a stable stratum. On Nov/1998, Japanese archaeologist Nishimura discovered a sample of drum casting mould next to our hole around 20m to the North. However, in his report in 2001, he described that this sample was picked on the surface layer of the citadel when the workers excavate the land to make the brick. Therefore, the sample that we excavated means so much.
Some samples of bronze drum casting mould
- We have collected 38 pieces of casting mould made of terra-cotta, including for both external and internal parts of the tympanum, the barrel, the body and the foot. The piece of mould of the external parts had a representative pattern of Dong Son bronze drums as the tangent and concentric circle, ladder motif, rice-ear motif... The external part was commonly in red color but the internal one was grey-white color.
Casting net and spindle whorl
Furthermore, we also found the items related to the drum casting processing such as the turning table spindle or the funnel. Based on those items, we would like to propose a process for making the drum as followed: 1- Making the rough shape on the turning table; 2- Making the barrel and decorating; 3- Making the tympanum and decorating; 4-Making the handle; 5- Fixing to the mould and funnel the copper (diagram).
- Regarding to the date, we hypothesize that they could date to the 4th-2nd century B.C. This hypothesis has some good reasons. As we know, Nishimura had proposed the date for the first piece of casting mould when he discovered it in 2001 as the 2nd century A.D. Regarding our samples, we found that the patterns on them are all geometric motif but without motif of human, bird or boat as ones of the earlier H1 type. Anyway, Li Tana proved that the making of Dong Son drum in North Vietnam lasted till the 6th century. Hopefully, the coming study and excavation will help us to clarify about this matter.
Trương Đắc Chiến (Research and Collecting Division)
EN: Tran Trang