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20-millennia-old tools found in karst plateau in Vietnam

Monday, August 11, 2014, 19:44 GMT+7

Vietnamese archeologists unearthed 20,000-year-old artifacts dating back to the Stone Age late last week in northern Vietnam’s Ha Giang Province.

Some hundred artifacts were found by archeologists from Vietnam Archeology Institute at 14 excavation sites around internationally-recognized Dong Van Karst Plateau in Quan Ba District.

The items are mostly prehistoric working tools made from pebbles found in rivers and springs.

Though covered with a dark brown layer from exposure to weather conditions, the traces of preliminary, simple stone cutting and striking remain distinctly visible, showing that prehistoric people did not invent polishing techniques yet.

These tools bear notable resemblances to those found in another commune of the same district in November last year, which were scientifically proven to date back to 20,000 years ago.

Vestiges of fossilized food used by prehistoric people such as shellfish were also detected last week at Tham Ly Quyen Cave in Yen Minh District, which is also part of the Dong Van Karst Plateau.

According to Assc. Prof. Trinh Nang Chung, of Vietnam Archeology Institute, more than 20 excavation sites around the plateau have so far been found containing artifacts belonging to the Stone Age and Bronze Age.

The Dong Van Karst Plateau was recognized by the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network in 2010 as one of the 77 geological parks in the world and the second in Southeast Asia, after the Langkawi Geopark in Malaysia. It remains the only one of its kind in Vietnam to earn the title so far.

Located at an altitude of 1,000m-1,600m, the plateau is one of Vietnam’s unique limestone areas, which contains significant imprints of the development of the earth's crust.

Up to 80 percent of the plateau’s karst formations are limestone formed by the weather through different natural development stages.

A survey conducted by the Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources revealed that Chang Pung is the plateau’s oldest fossil-geological formation which dates back to 545 millions years ago.

Apart from the geological, geomorphologic and scenic values, the plateau also boasts traditional cultural richness with the presence of 17 ethnic minority groups, including Mong, Dao, Lo Lo, Tay and Nung, who have shared their living space with the karst formations of various shapes for many generations.

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