Discovering the past – Sa Huynh culture

Along with an exhibit, “Sa Huynh – 100 nam phat trien va nghien cuu” (Sa Huynh culture – 100 years on development and research), in Hanoi, Tuoi Tre newspaper talked with a researcher, Ho Tan Phan, who has spent over 30 years on the Sa Huynh culture.

Archeological researcher Ho Tan Phan explains a Sa Huynh culture’s object. After 30 years working in the field of Sa Huynh Culture, he has collected hundreds of the objects (Photo: Tuoi Tre Newspaper)

Tuoi Tre: How hard has it been to research a dead culture?

Ho Tan Phan: The first thing I want to mention is that our country is very lucky to possess three gorgeous cultures, including Dong Son in the north, Sa Huynh in the central region and Dong Nai in the south. And in research by most foreign archeologists, all three were mostly mentioned.
As for Sa Huynh culture, we already detected some remains of it a century ago, especially in Hue, were we have not forgotten the digging at three venues, including Con Rang, Con Dai and Cua Thieng, a few years after 1975.
At these sites, we discovered unique aspects of the culture in the sediment of the bottom of the rivers nearby.

Some unexpected discoveries by fishermen during their work at that time also helped us find and preserve the items belonging to the culture. Via these items, we can learn some general information about the culture long ago.
How much do we know about Sa Huynh culture?
Temporal and spatial are two important concepts in human history. By these two concepts, we can somehow understand the living in the past.
A long time ago, with limited technology in archaeology, we supposed that the culture only existed in the central province of Quang Ngai down south. But, after 1975, with some achievements from the archeological research in the central province of Quang Nam, many local scientists understood that the culture covered a larger area.
To those who are interested in the culture like us, we find it amazing, not only about the huge numbers of items collected from the rivers but also about the variety of items. Besides attracting researchers, the items found also attracted the masses thanks to its variety in design, shape, material and art.

The Sa Huynh civilization was a society in central and southern Vietnam which flourished between 1000BC and 200AD. The site at Sa Huynh was discovered in 1909. Sa Huynh sites were rich in locally-worked iron artifacts, such as axes, swords, spearheads, knives and sickles.

Source: Tuoi Tre Newspaper – Translated by Truong Son

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