Con Moong Cave (Viet Nam): Tomb of prehistoric people discovered

Compiled by Thu Ha

Photo: VNE

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Excavating Con Moong Cave in the central province of Thanh Hoa, archaeologists found tons of shells and a lot of working tools. The most valuable discovery is the remains of prehistoric people in tombs dating back tens of thousands of years ago.

20130103091239-1.jpg Located in the buffer zone of Cuc Phuong National Park, Con Moong Cave in Thach Yen commune, Thanh Hoa, has been known for many years as a unique archaeological site in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

After excavation, archaeologists have demonstrated that Con Moong represents the cultural developments associated with many stages of development of ancient Vietnamese in more than ten thousand years (from 18,000 to 7,000 BC). 

The highlight of the cave is that all stratas have the traces of the continuous development of human history, from the Old Stone Age to the Neolithic, from hunting and gathering to farming, before the Son Vi to the Son Vi, Hoa Binh culture and Bac Son and Da But cultures.

Con Moong is located on a mountain cliff, around 100m from the mountain foot. The cave is about 40m long. The cave ceiling is over 10 meters high at some places. 

Dr. Pham Van Dau, from the Thanh Hoa Province History Association, who joined the first excavation at Con Moong cave in 1976, said that, following the instructions of the elders of Mo village, in 1974 some employees of the Cuc Phuong National Park discovered Con Moong cave.

In 1976, the Institute of Archaeology collaborated with Thanh Hoa province and Cuc Phuong National Park to conduct the first excavations. In recent years, the Institute of Archaeology cooperated with scientists at the Russian Academy of Science to continue excavating the cave for three times. 

At the same time they discovered and excavated some other caves also in the commune of Thanh Yen, like Lai, Ly Chun, Mang Chieng and Diem.

In late November 2012, the Thanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism coordinated with the Archaeological Institute to hold a conference to announce the preliminary results of the archaeological excavations at Con Moong and Mang Chieng caves in 2012. 

The results obtained from the archaeological excavations continue to strengthen the scientific basis that the cave has the traces of the ancient Vietnamese culture developed over the three culture floors of Son Vi, Hoa Binh and Bac Son. The key elements of the three most typical prehistoric cultures of Vietnam and Southeast Asia converge here.

The attraction of the Con Moong cave is that it is considered to be the only place in Southeast Asia with the longest and most continuous existence of human and the clear image on physical cultural and spiritual culture of ancient people. 

The cave is the "big house" of the ancient Vietnamese. But this is not just a place of residence, but also the burial site. Digging to a depth of 3.6 m, archaeologists discovered the remains of four individuals of the Old Stone Age. Among them, there is a relatively intact tomb. The dead were buried in the lying position, with working tools made of stone.

According to scientists, Con Moong along with Nguoi Xua, Dang, Lai and Moc Long caves form a complex of relics showing the life of a community in a broad valley, with the change in population, location of residence and mode of production and this community contributed to create the Da But culture.

Since it was discovered, Con Moong cave annually attracts thousands of local and foreign tourists. 

Nguyen Van Tuan, Director of Thanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the province would ask the state to recognize Con Moong as a special national relic in 2013. In the future, Thanh Hoa province will seek the UNESCO’s recognition of world cultural heritage for the cave.