Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A number of prehistoric artefacts have been discovered for the first time at two caves in the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan.

They were found at Tham Cave in Na Ri district and Pac Vat Cave in Ba Be district during a survey in July conducted by the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology and the province’s museum.

Assoc. Prof. and Dr Trinh Nang Chung, who led the excavation team, said Tham Cave was a place of residence of people in the Neolithic period. Those prehistoric residents belonged to the Bac Son civilisation in Vietnam, about 8,000 – 9,000 years ago.

It is located on a mountain slope, about 10 metres above the ground. Most of its area, about 500 sq.m, is lit by sunshine, which is favourable for residence.

Prehistoric traces, mostly objects made of pebbles, can be found across the cave. They include axe-shaped tools, peeling tools, mortar and pestles, along with traces of food such as animal bones, mollusc shells and fruit seeds, he noted.

Chung added that researchers also found a human skull fragment buried with a piece of “tho hoang” (a type of red-colour earth). Meanwhile, dark-red marks were found on a mortar nearby, which means the base could be used to grind “tho hoang” to apply to both alive and dead people.

This evidence suggests that the dead were buried at the same place where the living resided in the past, he said.

Meanwhile, more than 10 stone tools, along with snail shells and animal teeth, were discovered at Pac Vat Cave, which covers nearly 1,000 sq.m and is situated on a low karst mountain slope.

Further study on the caves is being conducted, Chung said.-VNA