Tragedy for mummies in Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge – With just a coffin made of rare wood, a few hundreds of liters of attar and the anaerobic techniques, the dead look like sleeping people for a thousand year.

A "chat" tomb in Hai Duong.

Hoanh and the forgotten Han tomb masterpiece in the Museum of Hai Duong Province.

Vietnam is the land of mummies. In the world, the discovery of an intact mummy of a few hundred years of age will cause shock to the scientific community, but in Vietnam, each several years a mummy is discovered. But the fate of mummies in Vietnam is pathetic.

Archaeologist Tang Ba Hoanh, former director of the Museum of Hai Duong Province, who participated in dozens of excavations of mummies, said: "It is the best to fill up mummy tombs. We should not unearth anything. Let our children study the mummies when they have sufficient conditions. If we touch them (mummies), we only destroy them."

Hai Duong’s people used to flock to the provincial museum to admire the giant Han tomb, dating back nearly 2,000 years, which was excavated and brought to the museum by Mr. Hoanh.

Nearly ten people earned their doctoral diplomas thanks to their research of giant wooden tombs. Each tomb is made of dozens of tons of ironwood. A dozen of others also became doctors thanks to Dong Son boat tombs of thousands of years, also excavated by Mr. Hoanh.

But then, when Hoanh retired, these invaluable tombs fell into oblivion and no visitor comes to the museum to see the tombs.

Mr. Hoanh and some Buddhist monks also found a case with fossil teeth of orangutan Pongo, an ancient ancestor to human. But then, he painfully told the monks to fill the cave. “For the sake of our children, the generation of smart, responsible for the country relics. If we dig it up right now, we will destroy it," he said.

The biggest laments of archaeologist Hoanh is “chat” tombs, the way he called tombs containing mummies with attar. “Chat” tomb is the essence of mummy tombs, which other countries do not have. The ancient people made mummies without using surgery, chemicals or subliminal techniques. They only need a special wooden coffin, a few hundred liters of attar and anaerobic techniques.

A forgotten ancient tomb in the field.

There were dozens of “chat” tombs discovered in Hai Duong and Hung Yen provinces, where Hoang engaged in a lifetime of archaeological work. But all have been shattered. Sleeping mummies in the graves were smashed and excavated by the living. Beautiful mummies, the essence of the human being, were put into ordinary coffins and buried in the ground so that their flesh and bones melt into the ground.

Hoanh was pained because in the world today, when people are busy with earning their living, no one cares about ancient tombs. Many mummy tombs have been destroyed by site clearance task. When mummy tombs were discovered, the local government reported the discovery to the higher authorities. Scientists have the responsibility for asking for funds for the excavation. But when they got the funding, the graves were damaged. The mummies were buried.

Compiled by Thanh Van
Vietnam, Hai Duong, Tang Ba Hoanh, tomb, mummy