Halong! A site for archaeologists
In 1937 Mr Vu Xuan Tao discovered by chance a stone axe on Ngoc Vung Island, which aroused much interest of contemporary French archaeologists. This fact showed that Ha Long was not only a natura wonder but also a cradle of prehestoric people. Works of French archaeologists then proved that stone tools, ceramic containers, stone and bone jewelry in Ha Long Bay dated from the late Neolithic era. The French scientists also said that archaeological sites in Ha Long Bay were of the Danhdola Culture ( Danhdola was the French name for Ngoc Vung Island
In 1954 North Viet Nam was liberated. After that, Vietnamese and Soviet archaeologists conducted large-scale surveys in Ha Long Bay and surrounding areas. In 1960 smashed rock pieces and bronze arrows of the time of the Hung Kings were found in the Tan Mai archaeological site of Ha Long Bay Civilization of 3500-5000 years ago.
Since 1960 extensive archaeological and cultural surveys have been carried out in over 40 sites. An important conclusion was made that prehistoric men lived in Ha Long Bay in even more immemorial times. There was not only the Ha Long Culture of about 3-5 millennia ago, but ther was also the Soi Nhu Culture dating 18,000 to 7000 BC. Soi Nhu culture was expanded in the areas of Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. The most typical archaeological sites of Soi Nhu culture are Me Cung, Tien Ong and Thie Long caves. Primitive labor tools are the main remnants in these sites. Mountain snails (cyclophorus), stream snails (melania), and some fossils of mollusks living in fresh water were also found.
Scientists show that the principal methods of living of Soi Nhu inhabitants wre catching snails, gathering plants and digging for plant tubers and roots. The already cought fish but the occupation of fishing was not yet in existence. Compared with the life of the inhabitants of the contemporary Hoa Binh and Bac Son Cultures, the life of Soi Nhu inhabitants was more affected by the sea because the lived closer to the sea. Cai Beo culture (7000-5000 BC) should be mentioned because it is a transitional culture between the preceding Soi Nhu Culture and the following Ha Long culture . The main archaeological sites of Cai Beo culture are located on the islands of Cat Ba and Giap khau and Ha Gian of HaLong Bay. Cai Beo culture show the early struggle of the ancient Viet people with the sea. Archaeological surveys in recent years have gained still surprising results. One of them is the discovery of the Dong Trong archaeological site in 2006, in which archaeologists discovered bones of prehistoric men, stone axes, pieces of pottery, sediments of bead strings made from snail shells. Dong Trong is one of the three archaeological sites in Ha Long Bay where bones of prehistoric men were found.
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