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Dong Son Culture


Bronze Drum from Dong Son Culture of Vietnam

Bronze Drum from Dong Son Culture of Vietnam. Dated ca. 800 BC, at the Museu Guimet in Paris.


The Dong Son culture (sometimes spelled as Dongson) is a Bronze age culture which includes all of southeast Asia and into the Indo-Malaya Archipelago from about 1000 to 1 BC. Centered on the Red River Valley of Vietnam, the Dong Son were sophisticated agriculturalists, raising rice and buffalo.

Dong Son probably arose from local Neolithic cultures, such as Phung Nguyen and Dong Dau phases. Dong Son is identified with the Van Lang ruling dynasty, the first ruling dynasty of Vietnam. By the second century BC, impacts from the Han Dynasty in China were being felt and according to Han imperial records, the Dong Son were absorbed as a Han Empire province.

Archaeologists associated with Dong Son include French explorer L. Pajot, J. M. Janse, Victor Goloubew, and Ha Van Tan.


This glossary entry is a part of the About.com Dictionary of Archaeology.

Higham, C. 1989. The Archaeology of Mainland Southeast Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kim NC, Lai VT, and Hiep TH. 2010. Co Loa: an investigation of Vietnam's ancient capital. Antiquity 84(326):1011-1027.

Yao A. 2010. Recent Developments in the Archaeology of Southwestern China. Journal of Archaeological Research 18(3):203-239.

Dong Son, Viet Khe, Co Loa (all in Vietnam)

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