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300-year-old tombstone rests in pieces on sidewalk

300-year-old tombstone rests in pieces on sidewalk

Friday, July 19, 2013, 16:33 GMT+7

The above-ground structure of a 300-year-old precious tomb has been lying marooned on the pavements of a street in southern Dong Nai province for the last two years, waiting to be restored.

While the remains of the deceased woman, who is believed to be in her 50s or 60s and a member of an aristocratic family, along with the precious objects buried along with her have been preserved and displayed at the Dong Nai Museum, the tomb’s outer structure has been left broken and scattered on the sidewalk of a street near Tran Bien Letters Center in Bien Hoa City’s Buu Long commune since 2011.

The tomb, built in the early 18th century, is one of the country’s rare ‘hop chat’ Cau Xeo tombs, with ‘hop chat’ being a kind of construction material common in the then southern region.

The items, built from lime, sand, coral fragments, crushed mollusk shells, coal and straws and weigh some dozen tons in total, boast plentiful decorative patterns and architecture which is unique to tombs of mandarins.

According to Nguyen Quang Toai, deputy head of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, after the tomb was excavated in 2011, the excavation team decided to take the tomb’s outer structure to the Vo Ha lineage’s cemetery, where it would be restored and studied thoroughly.

However, when the items arrived, the cemetery managers refused to house them, so they were dumped right on the pavement nearby, to locals’ and tourists’ disbelief.

The Tran Bien Letters Center said it will house the items for now till the provincial People’s Committee approves of the tomb relic project.

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