East Sea archaeology, why not?

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam has not paid appropriate attention to the underwater archaeology at the East Sea. The exploration projects in the area so far just aim to discover sunken ships or arms depots.

east sea, archaeology

Prof. Dr. of Science Nguyen Tac An, former Head of the Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography, said in 1992, when he was at work, the institute carried out a lot of contracts on salvaging ships on the East Sea. Some scientific discoveries were made during the process, but they have never been made public.

According to An, Vietnam still does not think of developing the underwater archeology science. This explains other countries are prevailing over Vietnam in the field.

There are two main reasons behind this – the limited long term vision, the lack of modern equipments and trained workforce.

China has recently announced that its first underwater archaeology ship would be put into operation on the territorial waters around the Vietnamese Hoang Sa archipelago in May 2014.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s underwater archaeology is still in the 3-nos conditions: no workforce, no money and no technical foundation.

In fact, Vietnam carried out the first field work in 1987 already with the river boat at the Bach Dang relic site in Quang Ninh province. However, a specific division on underwater archaeology under the Archaeology Institute has just been set up.

According to the Head of the Archaeology Institute Tong Trung Tin, the establishment of the division could be seen as a milestone in the development of the science. From now on, Vietnam would continue its research and training works with an aim to clarify the priceless treasure hidden deep under the rivers and the sea.

Commenting about this, Do Thai Binh from the HCM City Marine Science & Technology Association, said it is a pity for Vietnam to keep such a cautiousness. He said a foreign archeologist, named Michael, who joined the archaeology trips in Vietnam before, has enough time to become a well-known underwater archaeologist with doctorate and important scientific research works.

The lack of the modern material facilities has always been highlighted as the most important reason behind the “3-nos” of the Vietnam’s underwater archaeology.

However, An believes that if Vietnamese scientists really have passions for underwater archaeology, they would know what to do to implement their works in the best way. The lack of the modern equipments is just an excuse found by scientists to refuse the works.

Dr. Trinh Nang Chung from the Vietnam Archaeology Institute said underwater and inland archaeologies follow two different research methods; therefore, he cannot make comments about the modest achievements of Vietnam’s underwater archaeology.

However, he affirmed that scientists can only implement underwater archaeology projects only if they have good facilities and reasonable scientific methods.

An argued that specialized vessels are enough for the explorations at the depth of up to 3,000 meters. Meanwhile, special diving equipments would be necessary in specific cases.

Also according to An, the former Soviet Union once gave a modern diving equipment. But it got broken later and could not be fixed since then. This shows that even if Vietnam has modern equipment, it would not be able to develop the science once it does not have qualified workers.

Dat Viet

east sea, archaeology