Pieces of dragon-shaped tiles found at the excavation of Kinh Thien Palace. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Many traces of former building and artefacts found during the 2017 excavation of the Kinh Thien Place in centre of the Thang Long Royal Citadel have been announced at a scientific seminar in Hanoi on April 17.

The excavation had been conducted by the Thang Long-Hanoi Heritage Preservation Centre and the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology on a total area of nearly 1,000sq.m in the main area of Kinh Thien Palace since 2012.

According to the Thang Long - Hanoi Heritage Preservation Centre, the archaeological vestiges show that the area once held major structures of the Ly, Tran, and Le Dynasties (from the 10th to 20th centuries) but their sizes and functions have yet to be determined and further research is needed.

The vestiges include stone bases of columns, walls, and courtyards, stone foundations, perimeter walls, and drainage passages.

The 2017 excavation also unearthed the largest ever number of bricks and tiles that were used to decorate palace roofs in the 15th and 16th century, the Centre said.

It is hypothesised that the Kinh Thien Palace was roofed with yellow and azure enamelled tiles and decorated with intricate dragon patterns, which researchers say are significant materials that could help with the reconstruction of the palace.

“Each line of the tiles is shaped like a dragon with the body lying along the roof. The line ends with a dragon tail and starts with a dragon head carved sophisticatedly. The dragon with five-claw legs was used on the roof of the king’s palace, while the one with four-claw legs was used on the roof of the crown prince’s palace. The pieces we found are exactly how they have been described in history,” Archaeologist Tong Trung Tin said.

At the conference, experts suggested that the excavation site should be widened to give a panoramic view of Kinh Thien Palace as well as an insight into the architectural works of different dynasties in the past.

 “Findings of the excavation last year demonstrated the variety and complexity of the relics within the main area of the palace as well as contributed to clarifying the enormous value of the Thang Long Citadel,” said Bui Minh Tri, director of the Centre for Royal Citadel Studies.

“I suggest the archaeologists draw a map of the whole site to facilitate further research. The map cannot be accurate because we have not dug out the whole site yet, but it can certainly help people get a glimpse of the relics,” Tri said.-VNA