In the combination with Đông Sơn Culture and Óc Eo Culture, Sa Huỳnh Culture is one of three ancient cradles of civilization which created the culture of Vietnam. Results of excavations at many archeological sites around Vietnam indicated that Sa Huỳnh Culture existed over 5000 years ago, from the late New Stone Age to the early Iron Age. Sa Huỳnh inhabitants were good at cultivation, fishing and seafaring. They produced jewelries, glassware and pottery with sophisticated techniques. They took the advantage of the land to exchange the economy and culture with other regions in Southeast Asia, South of China and India.
The relics of Sa Huỳnh Culture were distributed in the central Vietnam, from high sand dune by the sea or river to islands. The different types of terrain created the localism of Sa Huỳnh Culture.
The archeological excavations carried out around Hoi An in the 90s of the 20th century discovered numbers of Sa Huỳnh Culture relics. The collections of Sa Huỳnh artifacts including pottery burial jars, jewelries, iron objects are dispaying at the Museum of Sa Huỳnh Culture , No. 149 Trần Phú Street, Hoi An
The collection of iron objects includes 28 items recovered at 4 relic sites: Hậu Xá I (5 items), Hậu Xá II (18 items), Xuân Lâm (3 items), An Bang (3 items). The iron objects were divided into two groups: weapons and labour tools.
- Labour tools: 22 items including matchets, chisels, spades, knives.
- Weapons: 6 items including curved dagger, spear, knives.
Spades make up a large number of items in labour tools group (9/22 items). It was a common farm tool in argriculture. The blade is sharp and thin with collar for putting handle stick, its tip 8-14cm long.
Knife and matchet also are common farm tools (10/22 items). They are the typical farm tools regularly appeared in Sa Huỳnh culture sites in Hoi An. Butcher knife is 18-30cm long, its blade 2.5-4.5cm wide, used for cutting or chopping. Matchet is curved shape, large and thick blade, 35-40cm long, used for cutting plants, branches or bushes in cultivation.
Chisel (3/22 items): sharp blade, 1.6-4 cm long, straight cylinder shape. It was regular carpenter tools for building houses, boats. The appearance of this tool in Sa Huỳnh archeological sites indicated the development of carpentry in Sa Huỳnh inhabitants (building seafaring boats).
Iron weapons: There was a parallel between Sa Huỳnh culture and Chinese Culture (Han Dynasty) that was shown in sharp pointed weapons such as curved dagger (1/6 items), sharp small knife (2/6 items).
Dozens of iron artifacts from Sa Huỳnh culture with variety of forms was found in Hoi An such as matchet, knife, spear, spade, curved dagger, chisles.
The iron objects were made by forging heat technique. There were vestiges caused by forged work were found at connection points or on surface of spades, knives. However, vestiges of smithy or smithy tools such as anvils, clamps, pliers…were not appeared in Sa Huỳnh excavation sites of Hoi An.
The collection of iron artifacts on display at the museum indicated that iron objects were common and necessary tools in daily life of Sa Huỳnh inhabitants.
Iron artifacts were found inside of the burial jars. They are large size and already being used. It’s proved that they were not the burial items but being used-items by their owner.
The variety in forms of iron artifacts presented the development of farming and carpentry of Sa Huỳnh inhabitants.
The parallel between Sa Huỳnh iron artifacts with iron artifacts of Chinese Han Dynasty and Đông Sơn culture at the North Vietnam indicated that there was trading relationship early occurred in Hội An. It’s one of background for the birth of pre-port town, premise for establishment of Hội An international commercial port town in the 17th-18th century.
The similar forms and production techniques of iron artifacts found at Hội An and other sites of Quảng Nam provice such as Đại Lãnh (Đại Lộc – Quảng Nam) and Gò Mã Vôi (Duy Xuyên – Quảng Nam) indicated that iron played an important role in uniform and crystallization of culture at the central Vietnam in pre-historic period.
The collection of iron artifacts belongs to lost civilizaion in Vietnam. Researching Sa Huỳnh Iron artifacts is an opportunity to reach different areas of the culture: artistic, technical thought, conception… However, longterm staying uderground affects the authenticity of iron artifacts. Therefore, it’s necessary to carry out preservation work immediately. Ensuring the scientific research, preservation, promotion and displaying to public.