An exciting discovery of ancient tombs and artefacts that date from as long as 10,000 years ago has been announced in the Tang River Valley in the central province of Quang Ngai.

After nearly two-months of excavations, scientists have unearthed twenty 2,000- 4,000-year-old tombs shaped like pans and jars along with various stone axes, buffalo teeth and other tools, many of which date back to 10,000 years ago. Other iron tools and ornamental pieces from the Sa Huynh Culture (2,500-2,000 years ago) have also been discovered.

Scientists have noticed some similarities between stone tools made by people in the Tang River Valley during the post Neolithic era (around 4,000 years ago) and those made by people in Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) during the same period.

Researcher Doan Ngoc Khoi of the Quang Ngai General Museum and head of the excavation team theorised that the ancient people in Tay Nguyen might have travelled across the Truong Son range to settle down in the central coastal plain where they created the glorious metal age of the Sa Huynh Civilisation.

He said the tomb site was located in the alluvial river valley and explained that there were many ancient tombs in this location because it would have been an ideal settlement area for the Sa Huynh people and the cultures before them.

Khoi expressed worry that the excavation team may not have enough time to move the antiquities to a safer place before the area is flooded to support a hydropower project.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has asked local authorities to complete site clearance for the hydropower project before April 5 while the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism had previously given the scientists permission to work at the site till May 15, he said.

The local department of culture has asked the MARD to push back the deadline so that the excavation work could be completed as planned./.