Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The completing facial reconstructions of the 2100 years old skulls excavated in the Dong Xa dongsonian burial field (Project : Facial Reconstruction for Prehistorical Human Skulls)


Some CESEAP members and staffs are together by former State President of Vietnam Tran Duc Luong during his visit 2nd May 2008 in Hoabinhian cave of Xom Trai (Hoa Binh)


PEG-treating in conservating a dongsonian dugout log coffin of 2300 years old


A Bat Trang ceramic vase with special design of flutting scholar (Ceramic collection of Pham Huy Thong Museum)


A Dongsonian ramie cloth with colored band by indigo deyed hemp fibres > Projects >

PEG Treatment in Conservation of Ancient Dongsonian Wood Dugout Boats [12/9/2019]


Project Dates:

01/04/2020 – 31/03/2021


Project Site:

PhamHuyThong Museum, Archaeology of Boats, Research Stations in Quang Yen (Quang Ninh) and in Kim Boi (Hoa Binh) of Vietnam.

City or vicinity:

Quang Yen town, Quang Ninh Province and Vinh Tien, Kim Boi, Hoa Binh, VN




The CESEAP is a N.G.O research institution, which works since 1999 in the field of Southeast Asian Prehistory in Vietnam. The Centre hat it’s “PhamHuyThong Museum” since 2001 (Professor  Pham Huy Thong ,1916-1988, was the first Director of the Institute of Archaeology Vietnam). The Museum starts the Project “ Archaeology of Boats” since 2004 with the Excavation of a half  boat burial coffin at Dong Xa Dongsonian Cemetery and further developed project in 2012 with taking a part in excavation of 13-14 century trade wrackship in Quang Ngai (Vietnam). From 2016 to 2018 the Museum collected and excavated 22 wood dugout boats in Kinh Thay river. They are dated by radiocarbon (14C) and 6 of them belong to Dong Son period (2400 - 2000 years ago). Two Dongsonian boats were natural dried in bad condition and the rest four are being preserved in water for cleaning and desulfuration. The applicant request a small grand to buy plastic, chemical materials PEG (PolyEthyleneGlycols) and to pay per diem for technical, normal workers during two years conservation and reconstruction of 6 Dongsonian boats of our museum project.     


Brief Description of Site:

There are total 22 ancient wood dugout boats being stored in the  CESEAP-Pham Huy Thong Museum Quang Yen. They are collected, excavated by project members of “Archaeology of Boats” (CESEAP Project) from 2016 to 2018 in river bed of Kinh Thay, province Hai Duong of Vietnam. 16 of them are still in relative good waterlogged condition and preserved by us in water in Museum. The 14C datings confirmed six boats of them belong to Dong Son Culture (2400 - 2000 years ago). They are very value material relics of Ancient Vietnam. But the competition of conservation requests a lot of expensive chemical material (PEG-PolyEthylenGlycols) and good knowledge about archaeological waterlogged wood. The applicant, Dr. Nguyen Viet, was working since 2000 with wetland archaeology and preserved successfully Dongsonian textiles, plant remains and wood coffins excavated in Chau Can and Dong Xa cemeteries. He has visited, work together and good contact with almost world laboratories working on the same field.

Project Activities Description:

- The boats are dying 12 months ready  (till January 2020) in fresh water.

- Professional cleaning four Dongsonian waterlogged boats (one week, two normal worker and one technician)

- Use special plastic bag/pool (containable 1000-1200 litres) with 20% PEG-2000 for treatment of each boat ( six months with every one month let fill each 10% higher percentage of PEG. Every month needs two days with two normal workers and one technician).

- Check out the boats from PEG container, clean the rest PEG, coats some layer of PEG 4000 and let them in special slow drying room with thick nets. This process is very important to save the treated wood surface isn’t be cracked. Normally this process requests special freezer drying equipment. We have only small one for object in size under 30cm long. The equipment for 10m long boats is very expensive. We have discussed with french, danish, swedish scientists and they agree with our method. Drying process is 12 months long. We need two technicians and two normal helpers working every days to measure and control detail treating room temperature and moisture.

- Control competition and start process of restauration, reconstruction (six months with 04  technician). it caused by original in many fragment broken situation of the boats
Project Time Frame or Schedule:

- April 2020, one week for professional clean the boats (in CESEAP-Museum Research Station of Quang Yen). Transport the treating Dongsonian boats from Quang Yen to CESEAP-Prehistory Museum Research Station in Vinh Tien, Kim Boi, Hoa Binh.

- PEG and Bags/Pools are ready in Station of Hoa Binh. The transported Dongsonian boats are treated on day with chemical solution of 20% PEG 2000.

- April 2020 to Oct. 2020 : Treating PEG with every month 10% higher PEG percentage.

- Oct. 2010 (Two days) : professional clean the PEG treated boats before put them into special slow drying rooms

- Oct. 2020 to Oct.2021 : drying in special slow drying rooms with everyday measure and control temperature and moisture.

- Oct.2021 to end of March 2022: Restoration and Reconstruction of the PEG treated fragments of boats
Importance of Site, Object, or Form of Expression: The first time in history of archaeology Vietnam discovered the original Dongsonian boats. They were preserved in very good water-logged condition. But they are damage, cracke, schinke very fast when they out from water in natural drying condition.
Urgency of the Project: 1- Because the boats leaved the natural condition of river bed covered by sand humus  sediment damage very fast in dry or incorrect water condition . 2- It’s very requested to publish and display. Because the Dongson Culture war very important Ancient archaeological culture of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Statement of Sustainability: The Dongsonian boats could have been seen before only by images, which decorated on bronze objects of this culture. Now we have real original wood boats of 2400 - 2000 years old Dongsonian boats. They are 14C dated and check samples to identify wood kind. With help of US Ambassadors Funding, the scientist, population and visiting foreigner have chance to see the real wood works as ancient vietnamese popular transportation means more than two thousands years ago
Media and Outreach Plan:

-    01 Scientific Paper for the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology

-    01 Scientific Paper for Vietnamese Journal of Archaeology (Khao Co Hoc)

-    01 Scientific Paper for WOAM (Waterlogged Organic Archaeological Materials) Conference.

- VTV2 and VTC Tivi Documentation Film have asked to make films of treatment, restoration and reconstruction of Dongsonian archaeological wood boats

























[12/16/2019] Further Studies on Hoabinhian - 2019

[6/18/2012] Die Bronzefiguren von Negritos in archäologischer Funstelle von Dong-Son (Thanh Hoa, Vietnam) und in Sa Thay (Kon Tum, Vietnam) [2012.06.17] gefunden

[8/10/2008] Project 2: Further Studies on Hoabinhian

[8/5/2008] Project 1: Ancient Textile in Vietnam

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