Hoa Binh is an ancient land home to limestone mountains running along the southeast direction and in parallel with Truong Son Mountain Range in the West, forming many basins and valleys with a rich diversity of fauna and flora. Humans came to reside here in the pre-historic period, creating the world-famous Hoa Binh Civilisation.



 

Teachers and students of Ly Tu Trong Junior High School in Hoa Binh city visit an exhibition hall on the Hoa Binh Civilisation at the provincial museum.

The place discovered by French archaeologist M. Colani

Vanh Village Stone Shelter, a national archaeological site, is located at the foot of Trang Mountain in Vanh village of Yen Phu commune, Lac Son district. Locals also called this place "snail cave” as a large number of snail shells have been found here. Scientists from of the Vietnamese Institute of Archeology have unearthed metres-thick layers of soil containing snail shells for thousands of years at the shelter.

In 1929, during an archaeological survey of the southern limestone mountain area of Hoa Binh province, French archaeologist M. Colani named a cave "Vanh Village Stone Shelter” after finding out and excavating local relics. At this shelter, she collected 951 objects of various types.

Located not far from Vanh Village Stone Shelter are Trai Cave, Da Ly Cave, Dung Cave, and Da Phuc Stone Shelter, which form a cluster of relic sites along a valley of the Muong Vang area.

Earlier, in 1926, Colani discovered and given the Hoa Binh Civilisation its name after she and some other archaeologists of the French School of the Far East examined caves in limestone mountains of the province. In 1932, the term "Hoa Binh Civilisation” was officially approved by international scientists at a conference on prehistoric studies of the Far East held in Hanoi.

The civilisation used to be present across Southeast Asia and South China. In Vietnam, archaeologists are still conducting excavations and discovering many relics of this civilisation in the northern mountainous and north central regions.

More than 150 relic sites of the civilisation have been recorded in the country so far. The majority of them concentrate in Hoa Binh, followed by Thanh Hoa province. The sites also scatter in the provinces of Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La, Ha Giang, Ninh Binh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri, along with Hanoi.

Hoa Binh province is home to 87 relic sites in the districts of Kim Boi, Luong Son, Lac Thuy, Lac Son, Yen Thuy, Tan Lac, Da Bac, and Mai Chau, and Hoa Binh city.

Preserving, promoting relic sites’ values

Since 1932, archaeologists of Vietnam have obtained many achievements in researching this civilisation to affirm that Hoa Binh was a highly typical archaeological civilisation and important to the Stone Age in Vietnam and the world. Therefore, relic sites and objects dating back to the Hoa Binh Civilisation are extremely valuable to archaeology in Vietnam and the world as well as the reinforcement of scientific evidence on the prehistoric period in Vietnam.

Hoa Binh province is currently home to 10 national archaeological sites dating back to this civilisation, namely Tam and Cho caves (Luong Son district), Muoi and Bung caves (Tan Lac district), Khoai and Lang caves (Mai Chau district), Trai Hamlet Cave and Vanh Village Stone Shelter (Lac Son district), and Tien and Dong Thot caves (Lac Thuy district).

Authorities are completing a scientific dossier to be submitted to the National Cultural Heritage Council and the Prime Minister to seek the recognition of Trai Hamlet Cave and Vanh Village Stone Shelter as special national relic sites.

To demonstrate its role as a province housing the largest number of the civilisation’s relics, Hoa Binh held ceremonies marking 85 years and 90 years since the world’s recognition of the Hoa Binh Civilisation in 2017 and 2022, respectively.

To Anh Tu, Director of the Provincial Museum, said the museum is preserving nearly 10,000 objects of the Hoa Binh Civilisation, excluding those excavated at Trai Hamlet Cave and Vanh Village Stone Shelter in 2022. They have been discovered since 1960.

Over the past years, the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has ordered the museum to frequently hold exhibitions to introduce the Hoa Binh Civilisation to domestic and international visitors. Such activities have considerably helped raise public awareness of the preservation and promotion of the civilisation’s values, he noted.

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