The investor of an expressway project in central Vietnam and concerned agencies have reached an agreement to accelerate the excavation of Champa cultural relics on a section of the road so that construction works can be carried out on the section soon. The agreement was made at a meeting on Monday between the Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), the investor of the expressway that links Da Nang City and Quang Ngai Province, and the Vietnam Archaeological Institute (VAI), the Quang Nam Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the People’s Committee of Quang Nam’s Duy Xuyen District, where the Champa relics are located. The meeting was held after the excavation, which began in January 2015, was recently halted because of disagreement between the VEC and the VAI about the progress of the excavation of the relics in a location called the Trien Tranh relic site in Duy Trinh commune.
The excavation affects a section of over 100 meter long of the 139-km expressway of which the construction began in May 2013 and is expected to be complete in 2017. The VEC wanted the institute to rapidly complete the excavation while the VAI said that after four months of work, archeological workers have excavated only 2,000 m2 of a total volume of 3,000 m2 of soil expected for the excavation, a VAI official said. That means workers will have to excavate the remaining 1,000 m2 of soil before it can reinstate the excavated site and handed it over to the VEC, the official added. However, at the above meeting, the VEC agreed for the VAI to continue its excavation and pledged to pay VND9 billion (US$414,500) for the excavation and removal of a part of the relics to a museum. In return, the VAI agreed to mobilize more resources to accelerate the progress of the excavation. The Trien Tranh relic site contains Champa relics and structures dating back to the 9th century, according to archaeologists. The term Champa refers to a collection of independent Cham polities that extended across the coast of what is today central and southern Vietnam from approximately the 7th century through 1832. These relics were detected in August 2014 while the site clearance was being made in Duy Trinh commune in preparation for construction works. In December 2014, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Culture assigned the VAI and the Quang Nam Province Department of Culture, Sports and Culture to excavate these relics, which have been recognized by the provincial People's Commitee as the provincial-level cultural relics.