The assemblage of different ethnic groups, its location on the migration and cultural exchange route between Kinh and other ethnic groups for centuries, traces of mankind of the Paleolithic era, vestiges of Sa Huynh culture as old as over 2500 years, as well as those of the flourishing Champa’s culture have all combined to form Quang Ngai’s unrivaled cultural characteristics and identities since early days of history. On the foundation of these unique identities, the cultural values, tangible and intangible, have been nourished, entering people’s life with a wide range of variations, still preserved and developed till today.
Sa Huynh Culture in Quang Ngai province
In 1909, the French archeologist Vinet discovered approximately 200 burial jars in the coastal sand dunes in Sa Huynh, Duc Pho district in Quang Ngai province. It was the first time, people discovered an ancient culture, dating back to 2,500-3000 years ago, which people later call Sa Huynh culture distributing from Quang Binh in Northern Central Vietnam to Binh Thuan province, East of Southern Vietnam and even to the Central Highland. In 1923, Madam Laparre- a French tariff official’s wife, conducted the firs excavation in Sa Huynh and in 1925, H. Parmentier declared to have found burial jars in Phu Khuong, Thanh Duc. In the burial jars were some ritual offerings. In 1934, Madam M. Colani unearthed 55 burial jars in Long Thanh and 187 jars in Pho Khuong, Dong Phu similar to the excavation in 1923. Anh in the declarations in 1935 and 1937 Colani named them Sa Huynh Culture. In 1939, O. Janse’s unearthed 6 clusters of burial jars in Thanh Cu (near Phu Khuong). There were around 3-7 jars in each cluster. The body of the jars had the cylinder shape with the lids of conical shape; the buried ritual broken offerings were the same as those of the previous excavation. The Sa Huynh archeological excavations were conducted chiefly before 1945 then interrupted for 30 years because of the wars. It was remarkable during this period of time was that there was a resurvey of the Sa Huynh relics by L. Malleret in 1957, he found some pottery which led him to stu After 1975, Sa Huynh Culture was rediscovered, excavated and studied to check and broaden our perception about Sa Huynh culture. In 1976-1977, the archeologists discovered the residence relics in Sa Huynh with the cultural layer over 2 meters thick an with artifacts such as axes, hoes, pestles
In 1978, The Vietnam Institute of Archeology and the Vietnam Historical Museum excavated 150 m2 at Go Ma Vuong ( Long Thanh) and discovered a residential area with a thick cultural layer and a cluster of burial jars on which lied the residential layer. Also in 1978, an excavation of 400 m2 was conducted in Trang Quynh, Binh Chau commune, Binh Son district. Binh Chau is also a coastal commune in the Northeast of Quang ngai province, about 70 km from Sa Huynh a long the coast. Here in addition to the burial jars, there were residential relics. These relics were named Binh Chau I. In 1996-1997, The Vietnam Institute of Archeology and Quang Ngai Comprehensive Museum discovered and excavated Sa Huynh cultural relics in Xom OC( Ly Son island district); another excavation was conducted in Suoi Chinh, Ly Son. These were the first relics of Sa Huynh Culture discovered in an island. In 2002, The Vietnam Historical Museum and The Quang Ngai Comprehensive Museum excavated residential relics in Binh Chau, bout 500 m from the previous excavation site in 1978 and was named Binh Chau II. In 2005 Sa Huynh cultural relics were discovered in Go Que (Binh Dong commune, Binh Son district) including 21 burial jars, 10 earth tombs and over 60 artifacts made of stone, copper, iron and crystal. In 2009 Duong Quang relic, coastal sand dune in Mo Duc districts, was discovered and unearthed. Sa Huynh Cultural relics scattered throughout the area. Excavations after 1975 have confirmed that it is a native culture, from the Bronze Age (pre-Sa Huynh) to Iron Sa Huynh (Sa Huynh). In Sa Huynh cultural space extending from Quang Binh (adjacent to Dong Son culture) to Binh Thuan, 03 provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh are in the central area. In total 80 Sa Huynh Cultrual relics sites are distributed from Ha Tinh to Binh Thuan. Archeologists have explored and excavated more than 26 sites in Quang Ngai. The pre-Sa Huynh sites and Sa Hunh sites in Quang Ngai are classified as follows:
- Pre-Sa Huynh sites: Go Ma Vuong ( Long Thanh), Binh ChauI, Binh Chau II, Go Na, Go Quanh, Tra Xuan, Go Vang, Binh Anh, Go Moi, Go Dinh, Nui Sua, Vuon Chi, Dam Thuy Bac, Thach Than.
- Sa Huynh sites: Phu Khuong, Dong Phu, Thanh DUc, Tan Loc, XOm OC, Suoi Cinh, GO Que, Duong Quang, Go Kim, Tinh Tho, Mo Coi, Xuan Pho, Bau Lat.