In early 2020, while digging water ditches, people in Gach hamlet, Yet Kieu commune (Gia Loc district, Hai Duong province) discovered an ancient tomb in Cha field.
The location where the tomb was found
Shortly after that, Phan Van Huu (born in 1953), an inhabitant in the commune, informed the local authorities.
After having received the information, the provincial Museum coordinated with the Division of Culture and Information of Gia Loc district and the People's Committee of Yet Kieu commune to research into the tomb and dig for exploration.
The tomb is located perpendicular to the irrigation ditch system in the east – west direction, at a depth of 100 cm below the field surface.
The current status of the brick tomb after excavation
The brick tomb has a vaulted roof and a rectangular floor 264 cm long and 100 – 107 cm wide. However, the tomb is not made of a single type of brick but three different ones in three parts of the tomb.
The foundation of the tomb was built of even half-baked bricks.
The one-piece rectangular body of the tomb is made of uneven bricks, most of which were baked at low temperatures, some at high temperatures, thus turning into glazed terracotta.
Arched bricks of the tomb vault
The upper part of the tomb is made of seamless arched square bricks, forming a semicircle with tenons at both ends to be attached to the walls of the tomb to increase solidity.
The tomb is no longer intact with skewed walls, incomplete bricks on the foundation, and especially, no trace of any ceramic jar containing bone-ash.
Relics found include eight stained and rusty ancient coins stuck to each other with Chinese characters on the surface and determined to be currency in Chinese Tang and Song dynasties, equivalent to Ly and Tran dynasties of Vietnam (1010 – 1400).
A Xi Ning ingot from the Northern Song dynasty (1068 – 1127)
In addition, a piece of white glazed ceramic decorated with a blue pattern dating from the Restored Le era (1533 – 1789) has also been detected.
Based on the characteristics, shaping, structure, and relics found, the survey team initially defined that the tomb dates back to the Tran dynasty (1226 – 1400). This is a very unique type of tomb with arched bricks and tenons that has been found for the first time in Hai Duong province.
However, after field excavation for exploration, the binder used for tomb building has not been determined, so the team will continue study for clarification.
A piece of glazed ceramic dating from the Restored Le era
The detection of the unique ancient tomb, especially the relics found inside – ancient Chinese coins, indicates that Dai Viet (old name of Vietnam) in Ly and Tran dynasties had exchanges with or allowed the use of the currency of foreign countries in buying and selling goods.
This may also be the tomb of a Chinese national migrating to Vietnam. The architecture of the tomb shows the bold economic and cultural development of the Tran dynasty in Hai Duong.
AN MAU – HOANG HUONG – VAN DAI