Thứ Năm, 29 tháng 4, 2010

Central Vietnam during the Period from 500 BCE to CE 500

Central Vietnam during the Period from 500 BCE to CE 500

Lam Thi My Dzung

Conference “Early Indian Influences in Southeast Asia: Reflections on Cross – Cultural Movements” 21-23 November 2007, Singapore (In Press)

The time from 500 BCE to CE 500 (the proto- historic and early historic periods) is defined by scholars as the critical period in the cultural and historical process of Central Vietnam in particular and in Southeast Asia in general. According to scholars, this early historic period in mainland Southeast Asia straddled two critical junctures. The mid-first millennium BCE marks the transition to an ‘Iron Age’ and all the shifts that accompanied such a technological change. A second transition occurred in the later centuries BCE with the shift to the early historic period; changes during this time set the stage for the emergence of the region’s first centralized polities (Stark and Bong Sovath 2001: 85).
Recent archaeological finds and discoveries lead us to recognize the dynamic cultural contacts of the area with the external world and strong acculturation between the exogenous and indigenous factors which led to formation of various kinds of early states. Due to these qualitative and critical changes, a big number of local cultural features disappeared, while the forms and behavioral patterns of the new cultural structure appeared to replace the old elements.
The main issues of this chapter are to provide:
• An overview on the archaeological cultures in Central Vietnam during the period from 500 BCE to CE 500.
• The transition processes from Sa Huynh to Champa reflected in the archaeological sites and artifacts, and the discussion for the delimitation of the early historic period from 500 BCE to CE 500.
• Some opinions about the so-called Sinicization, Indianization and the impact of indigenous elements.

The Archaeological Sequences for Central Vietnam
According to Vietnamese archaeologists, archaeological sequences and chro¬nologies for Central Vietnam could be reconstructed as follows:
1. Pre-Sa Huynh (or Early Sa Huynh, Initial Sa Huynh): It consists of some groups of sites (under the umbrella of Xom Con, Long Thanh, Binh Chau cultures). These cultures belong to the Early Metal Age from 3.500 to 2.600/2500 BP; all influenced each other and finally crystallized in one cultural tradition, which was represented by the Sa Huynh culture. It is believed that the jar burial tradition in Sa Huynh period originated in the Pre-Sa Huynh phase (Lam Thi My Dzung 2002: 53).
2. The typical Sa Huynh culture (Archaic or Early Iron): There are some contradictions about the spatial distribution and the forms of burial jars in the Sa Huynh culture (Nguyen Thi Hau 1997; Yamagata 2007: 4). According to the author of this paper, the typical Sa Huynh culture existed during period from 500 BCE to CE 100 or 200. The sites were distributed in the area between Thua Thien — Hue and the Dong Nai Delta. The Sa Huynh culture consisted of two main local groups:
i. The Northern group occupied the areas of Quang Tri, Thua Thien — Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh provinces, and Da Nang city. This group was characterized by big cylindrical jars and semi- conical lids; jar burial was predominant, and so were cremations and secondary burials.
ii. The Southern group occupied the areas of Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, and Binh Thuan provinces, down to the Dong Nai Delta. This group was characterized by various forms of burial jars; jar burials, ground burials; cremations, primary and secondary burials. The burial rites evidenced the strong and close relations with Tabon cave (Philippines) and Samui Island (Thailand).
3. The Early Cham period from CE 100 to 500: This is a period of
establishment of Early States. It may be divided into two main phases:
i. From 100 to 200: The Jinan Period
ii. From 200 to 500: The establishment of Linyi and Linyi-like polities. From CE 500 onwards, we reach the Champa Kingdom period.
Due to many reasons, this chronological framework could not be fixed precisely. The upper and lower years of each period were not recognized clearly and it is worth noting the transitional nature of the end of the previous phase and beginning of the successive phase.
This study concerns the chronological phases from 500 BCE to CE 500 (i.e. Sa Huynh and Early Cham). The scholars use different terms such as Pre-Linyi to Linyi, Tra Kieu, Pre-Cham, Early Cham or Ancient Cham for indicating the period from CE 100 to 400, when the name Champa had not appeared yet in the ancient Chinese annals (Yamagata 1998, 2005).
There are some controversial views regarding the definition of the location and nature of Linyi and especially its relationship with successive Champa periods (Vickery 2005; Southworth 2001, 2004). The author would like to emphasize that up to date information allows the northern border of the Sa Huynh culture to be clearly positioned in Thua Thien — Hue province (in the Hue area, several large Sa Huynh cemeteries were found, such as Con Giang, Con Dai, etc.). In Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces, only few information are available for the existence of Sa Huynh culture . Archaeological artifacts discovered accidentally in recent years in Quang Tri province show strong cultural acculturation between Dong Son and Sa Huynh cultures. For the period from CE 200 to 900 in Quang Tri province, this author’s survey material (particularly pottery) evidences features similar to the pottery found in Quang Nam and other provinces in Central Vietnam. It fact, this could be interpreted as the unification of the culture in the large area ranging from Quang Tri to Khanh Hoa provinces. Focusing on the recent archaeological data, I prefer to use the term Early Cham for the period from CE 100 to 500 which means Cham culture but not only the Champa kingdom or Cham ethnics. It is important to note this is mostly a working concept.
The definition of Sa Huynh Culture Concept
The most notable characteristic of the Sa Huynh culture is its mortuary tradition with burial jars. In general, the Sa Huynh sites reveal a considerable use of iron and decorative items made from glass, semi-precious and precious stone such as agate, carnelian, rock crystal, amethyst, and nephrite. The sites (cemeteries and occupation sites) are located on sand dunes extending along the shore or along the rivers in the alluvial plains. A large number of Sa Huynh sites are distributed on the highland and mountainous area (Lam Thi My Dzung 1998: 13). The sphere of the Sa Huynh culture extended from the Thua Thien — Hue province down to the Dong Nai Delta.
In this huge region, the author recognized three successive phases of Sa Huynh culture (Lam Thi My Dzung 2007a):
1. The earliest phase, phase I. The key sites are Go Ma Vbi, Binh Chau II, Binh Yen pit 1, Thach Bich, Go Que cemeteries and Thon Tu occupation site. Jar burials existed with some extended ground burials. The grave goods include many bronze artefacts, some iron implements, a small number of beads, and no bronze containers or Han bronze mirrors. The artefacts and the burial type show strong relationships with the Dong Son culture from further north.
2. The middle phase, phase II. The key sites are Go Dua, Lai Nghi, Binh Yen pit 2, An Bang, Dai Lanh, Dong Cuom, Sa Huynh, Dien Khanh. This is the peak of the Sa Huynh culture. Common burial jars are cylindrical with everted rims, which are usually associated with semi-conical lids. Mortuary accessories consist of many iron artefacts, agate, carnelian, glass beads and earrings, and several gold ornaments. Among the ornaments and other kinds of grave goods, there are some imported items from the outside world such as bronze ritual vessels, bronze mirrors, etched beads. If compared with Phase I, the pottery is poorly decorated. The artefacts and some kind of burials show strong relationships with Han (Late Western and Early Eastern Han culture) from the north.
3. The final phase, phase III The key sites are Lai Nghi, Hau Xa II, Xom Oc (the burials), Suoi Chinh, Rung Long Thuy, Hoa Diem (the burials), and the group of sites in Can Gio district and in Ho Chi Minh city. A variety of burial practices could be recognized. Jar burials are associated with extended graves. The grave goods reflect the dynamic trade and other forms of exchange with China, India and Southeast Asian islands.
The author also recognized two traditions for the evolution of burial patterns from Pre Sa Huynh to Sa Huynh and Epi Sa Huynh periods.
1. Tradition I, from Long Thanh to Sa Huynh. It is characterized by the existence of egg-shaped and cylindrical jars. In the final period, the grave goods consist of many iron implements and ornaments made from agate, carnelian and glass. This first tradition began at the end of the first millennium BCE and declined around the end of CE 100. It may be named Northern Sa Huynh.
2. Tradition II, from Bau Tram to Suoi Chinh, Hoa Diem, Giong Ca Vb. It is recognized by the presence of the spherical jars which contained the human skeletons. This tradition began around 3500 BP and finished in CE 200 or 300. It may be named Southern Sa Huynh (Fig. 1.1).

The spatial division of Sa Huynh culture is flexible in some cases. In fact it could be recognized as two traditions in the same area. For example in Khanh Hoa province, Hoa Diem cemetery belongs to Tradition II and Dien Khanh cemetery to Tradition I.


Spatial Distribution of Sa Huynh and Cham Sites and the Connections between the Sites
Over 100 Sa Huynh sites and a dozen Early Cham sites were discovered and studied in Central Vietnam. It is worth noting that the Cham sites are located closely to the area of Sa Huynh sites, and in many cases, the Cham cultural layer or at least the Cham artefacts were found above the Sa Huynh cemeteries. The end of the Sa Huynh cultural phase coincided with the beginning of Cham culture. The location of Cham sites overlaps with that of Sa Huynh sites. But we cannot explain this simply as the continuous cultural development from Sa Huynh to Cham. We do recognize the coincidence of dates, or that of location, but there are divergences in many aspects of material culture between Sa Huynh and Cham.
There are differences in the nature of the sites. The Sa Huynh sites as mentioned above are mostly cemeteries. The Cham sites are varied in nature and dates: the archaeological research documents an unbroken record of occupation during the first millennium CE, but it also recognizes the process of organisational changes from CE 100 to 500.
The results of excavations of some Cham sites have also yielded substantial information regarding the ritual, economic and political activities of the people.
The Chronology of the Cham Excavated Sites
By using stratigraphic sequences and the evolution of artefact assemblages, at least two or three phases may be recognised for the first millennium CE Cham sites.
The early phase consists of the sites that reveal cultural layers of the CE 100 to the end of CE 200 or 300. The key sites are Go Cam (Duy Trung, Duy Xuyen, Quang Nam), the lowest and lower layers of Tra Kieu (Duy Xuyen, Quang Nam), the lower layer of Hau Xa I (Hoi An, Quang Nam), the upper layer of Vuon Dinh-Khue Bac (Da Nang), the lower layer of Co Luy-Phu Tho (Quang Ngai), the lower layer of Thanh Ho (Phu Yen). There are some debates about the dating of the lowest layer of Tra Kieu among scholars (Glover et al. 2005; Lam Thi My Dzung 2002, 2005; Yamagata 1998, 2005).
The middle phase consists of the sites that have cultural layers of CE 400 to 700. The key sites are the upper layers of Tra Kieu, of Co Luy-Phu Tho, and of Thanh Ho.
The later phase includes the site with dates between CE 900 and 1000, such as Bai Lang (Cu Lao Cham) and Nam Tho Son (Da Nang).
It is important to remember that a number of these sites contain various cultural layers dating from CE 100 to 700. Cham sites are varied in nature and include occupation sites, port sites, and citadel sites. The differences in the nature and function of Sa Huynh and Cham sites produces the differences of the features and artefacts brought to light during excavations.

Radical changes occurred in the assemblages of artefacts between Sa Huynh and Cham cultures.
The Pottery
In comparison with Sa Huynh pottery (mostly from graves), the pottery found in Cham sites seem to be simpler in decoration, but varied in material and potting techniques. From CE 100, a new technique for pottery making was introduced in Central Vietnam (higher fired stamped ware). It is important to focus on the appearance of the fine clay pottery and new forms of pottery such as egg-shaped jars, pedestal cups, kendis (spouted vessels), and tiles with textile impression.
We can recognize during the 1st millennium three main groups of pottery based on differences in fabric, surface treatment, vessel-forming techniques, style and function (Lam Thi My Dzung 2005).
1. The 1st group includes the domestic wares, locally made and relatively low-fired. This group evidenced some common features with the Sa Huynh pottery.
2. The 2nd group consists of the locally made earthenware, but under the influence of the new technique from the North (i.e Northern Vietnam or China). Some pottery forms seem to originate from the West.
3. The 3rd group presents the high-fired, stamped, glazed and unglazed Han pottery and probably some imported pottery from the West. These earthenware were found in sites belonging to the early and middle phases as defined above.

The ornaments
Indo-Pacific glass beads are found in abundance. Gold, silver jewellery and ornaments became more popular, but agate, carnelian, and nephrite beads became rare; the Ling-ling O and two animal headed earrings, trade marks of the Sa Huynh culture, totally disappeared.
The Other Artefacts
We do not have much information from the archaeological sites to evidence the evolution of metal and stone implements over this period; only by looking at private collections can we recognize great changes in the making and use of stone and metal tools.
In comparison with the previous Sa Huynh culture, the Early Cham and Cham artefact assemblages reflect the great changes in material, manufacturing techniques and form. According to us, there are two main groups of factors (inner and outer), which caused these shifts.
On the one hand, it is important to note the continuous cultural processes, especially in some domestic aspects from 500 BCE to CE 500, and on the other hand, we have to focus on the cultural changes over this time. The new forms of settlement patterns and artefacts derived from new social structures and newly acquired functions.
New social functions provide the opportunities and abilities for the develop¬ment of quantitative and qualitative levels of organization of production and distribution. These changes influenced the selection of imported items. The changes occurring in artefact assemblages and site structures led us to recognize tendencies and preferences in the ways people interacted with the outside world over this millennium long period.
For the first phase, the connection with Han China played an important role in the establishment of new social structures. Influence from China penetrated the Sa Huynh culture and became stronger in the beginning of the 1st millennium CE; it was caused by various factors, among which the political factor is most significant (Lam Thi My Dzung 2007b). In this same time, we cannot ignore the influence from India, but the connection with India seems to be weaker than that with China. The material culture of this phase also reflects some features which were inherited from the earlier Sa Huynh culture.
During the second phase, one is witness to the increase of complexity in the connections with the outside world, in comparison with the first phase. One must also emphasize the strength of the influence from India and the multiple connections with Insular Southeast Asia. All these factors brought about radical transformations in various facets of Cham societies.

Some Opinions about Sinicisation, Indianisation and their Social Impacts
There are three groups of scholarly opinions about the process of so-called Indianization (and Sinicization), which for more than a millennium, begin¬ning from the early centuries of the Common Era, was accomplished time and again by Brahman priests, Buddhist monks, scholars and artisans who were introduced into Southeast Asian indigenous societies by Indian merchants. They emphasize: (1) Southeast Asian initiatives; (2) colonisation theories; (3) the idea of a mutual sharing process in the evolution of Indianised statecraft in Southeast Asia.
Obviously, all early kingdoms were based on the Hindu conception of royalty; but never did they become Indian colonies. Up to now, Vietnamese archaeologists are of the opinion that much of the available data supports the third point of view. We suggest that trade with China and India played an important role, but that it was never the principal ‘cause’ of the emergence of early states. State power was an important addition, but not the result of the successful development of trade with the external world. I argue that the spread of goods and culture from India and China reflected the grafting of Indian and Chinese commerce onto a pre-existing infrastructure of Southeast Asian networks. Such an explanation implies that earlier phases of development in various areas of Southeast Asia were characterized by indigenous processes of trade expansion and increasing social stratification (Lam Thi My Dzung 2006).
The Earliest Archaeological Artefacts from India in Central Vietnam
We can mention a great number of carnelian and agate beads of Indian origin, which were found in the Iron Age sites in Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam: in particular, specific etched beads and beads with animal shape (lion, bird, tiger...). At Lai Nghi cemetery in Quang Nam province, two carnelian beads in the shape of bird and tiger and thousands of carnelian and agate beads were found as grave goods (Reinecke et al. 2003) (Fig. 1.2). Carnelian or tiger beads are a reference to Buddha as Sakyasimha (Lion of the Sakya Clan), and it is highly probable that the lion bead from Thailand, as well as similar ones (tiger, bird or deer) from Vietnam, Myanmar are early Buddhist icons, and as such probably the earliest witness to Buddhist ideas and values yet recognized in Southeast Asia (Glover 1994: 140; Lam Thi My Dzung 2006).

Typology of Beads and Earrings in Central Vietnam
(Source: Nguyễn Kim Dung 2007 and Author’s Data)

The pottery imported from South India appeared very early in Central Vietnam. It was evidenced in the early Cham sites such as Tra Kieu and Go Cam in Quang Nam province (Nguyen Kim Dzung 2005: 41) (Fig. 1.3).
So, through the unique process of acculturation, the ethnically different Southeast Asian peoples absorbed the Chinese and Indic cultural elements and adapted them to their own particular needs. The superimposition of Indian culture never derived from a policy of political subjugation nor to economic exploitation; rather the very process signified a peaceful outlook and a cooperative approach.
In summary, based on the archaeological and historical annals, one could apply the following cultural sequences for the period 500 BCE to CE 500:
1. The Protohistoric period — Sa Huynh culture: This culture ends around the beginning of the second century CE. But in some areas, especially in the southern part, the Sa Huynh culture only declined about CE 200 or 300, with some transformations in both burial rites and grave goods.

2. The period from the end of first century CE to the end of the second or third centuries CE:
The Ancient Cham or Early Cham period is characterised by multi-cultural interactions with the outside world, among which the strongest connections were with the Chinese cultural sphere. These connections began in the final phase of Sa Huynh culture and increased during the Eastern Han period. According to the ancient annals, the sphere of Sa Huynh culture belonged to Jinan district (Quan Nhat Nam) of Eastern Han China. Cultural shifts are easily recognizable, particularly the total changes in burial rites and ceremonies. The jar burials and their associated grave goods disappeared and these shifts were reflected in the appearance of new cultural patterns. There are therefore some arguments to name this period as the pre-Linyi Period (Tien Lam Ap).
3. The beginning of the third century CE – The Linyi state and similar states along Central Vietnam: This is an intensive process of state formation. The appearance of the earliest Cham citadels, as evidenced by the vestiges found in the lower layers of Tra Kieu, the upper layer of Co Luy – Phu Tho and the Ho citadel (fig.1.4). The cultural interaction with India and Southeast Asia Islands became most important.
4. From the CE 600, the term Champa occurred: There are some gaps in the evolution of these phases, particularly in the transitional stage from Sa Huynh to Early Cham or Pre-Linyi (i.e., end of first century BCE to middle of second century CE); and in the transition from Linyi to Champa (i.e., the relationship between Linyi and similar polities, and Champa). In several cases, the interpretation of the historical annals finds no match in the archaeological evidence. From the archaeological point of view, it is important to note that the differences in archaeological records between the above-mentioned phases during period from CE 100 to 500 are smaller in comparison with the previous Sa Huynh culture.
We tend to accept the idea that the Linyi and Linyi-like polities of Central Vietnam from c. CE 100 to 400 were established under strong Han Chinese influence (in fact, the formation of these early states reflected the reaction of the local people fighting against the Chinese domination). The impact and influence of Indic civilization increased around CE 400 and 500, and Champa appeared on the historical scene around CE 600. The archaeological materials do not bring evidence for such a radical change or the replacement of Linyi by Champa. On the contrary, one can observe continuities in the development of material culture between these periods. It is recognized both in the sites and in the artefact assemblages.

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