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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 16:21 GMT
Vietnam uncovers hidden treasure
By Clare Arthurs

A massive archaeological find has delayed the construction of Vietnam's first ever purpose-built parliament house.

Reports from the capital, Hanoi, say that some 2 million items have been unearthed on the proposed site of the new National Assembly building.

Artefacts found from the excavation site
Thousands of artefacts have been found already
The finds, which date back to the 7th Century, were put on display for the first time on Tuesday.

Behind high walls and under striped plastic sheeting, the digging has been under way for months.

But the extent of the find has just now been revealed - artefacts pre-dating the establishment of Thang Long, or modern day Hanoi, as the "city of the rising dragon".

Out of the mud have come the remains of ornate pavilions, tall pillars and delicate ceramics covered in the mythical phoenix and writhing dragons.

Under wraps

In typical secretive style, the authorities have spoken little about the plans for a new parliament house.

Workers begin unearthing the excavation site
The find is described as one of Vietnam's most important
Ahead of the recent announcement that German architects had been chosen to design the complex, the BBC was refused access to the site - and parliamentarians were not allowed to talk about the project.

It sits in communist Vietnam's heartland - historic Ba Dinh in old Hanoi, where the founder of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, lies entombed.

It now appears the siting of the new parliament, which was to have been under construction by the end of the year, will have to be rethought.

Country profile: Vietnam
31 Oct 03  |  Country profiles



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