Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Luu Cu dig

Our visit to Luu Cu attracted lots of attention
With Tra Vinh province known for its Khmer pagodas and Khmer-speaking population, it perhaps comes as no surprise that we also came across a set of brick ruins whilst undertaking our tour of the province last October. Known as Luu Cu, excavations unveiled in 1986, a huge brick-built building, though only the rectangular foundations remain today, but enough evidence was collated to suggest that it was a site of worship when it was erected in the 1st century AD during the time of the Funan empire, with further evidence to suggest there was a 2nd construction in the 5th century. Pre-Angkorian of course, though there are no Angkor-style remains in the Mekong Delta that I'm aware of. Archaeologists found yoni, linga, religious items made of sandstone, crystal rock, gold and brass, though none of these are kept at the site today. What does remain are the laid-bare foundations, with a few bricks featuring floral patterns, underneath a large covering, a sign in Vietnamese, a guest-book for visitors to sign and most of the village children, who came out to join our investigation, and of course, pose for photos. Luu Cu is about 40kms southwest of Tra Vinh and just a stone's throw from the Luu Cuu II pagoda.
A substantial brick-built rectangular place of worship remains at Luu Cu
Excavations have revealed this site dates back to Funan and the 1st century AD
A more formal team photo at the site of Luu Cu

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OpenID alisonincambodia said...

Nice photos Andy! Although one correction, it doesn't pre-date Angkor Borei. The cemetery at Vat Komnou in Angkor Borei has been dated to at least 200 BC and other radiocarbon dates show the site has been occupied since the fifth or fourth century BC!

April 20, 2011 at 3:03 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Thanks Alison. Duly noted. Glad to see you will be heading back this way later in the year.

April 20, 2011 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Adam Bray said...

Cool! How many temple buildings did there seem to be at the site. Looks a lot like ruins at Cat Tien: http://bit.ly/hDXNL3

April 22, 2011 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

This was a single site as far as I was aware, almost lost amongst the homes and gardens of the surrounding houses in the village of Luu Cu. The amount of brickwork and foundations revealed by previous excavations would suggest a sizeable structure once stood at the site, perhaps the size of a large pagoda that you might find at one of the bigger Khmer monasteries in the province. I didn't manage to glean where the items that were uncovered were being held (ie. what museum) so I wasn't able to see the exhibits that they unearthed....which would've been interesting.
The sign outside the site was in Vietnamese and we went past it once before we actually spotted it. It was literally sitting between two normal houses. Once we stopped the car and got out, the village children appeared from nowhere and almost completely overwhelmed us. They were great fun and the while experience, meeting some of the villagers, etc, was one of our most memorable moments in the province (and there were many).
I really really enjoyed my time in Trav Vinh and Soc Trang provinces.

April 22, 2011 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Adam Bray said...

Sounds cool. Glad to see they are making some effort to take care of it. So many times I manage to locate old archaeological sites further north, only to find after "archaeologists" scrounged anything "valuable" that they leave the site fallow and its destroyed by local farmers. Bye-bye thousands of years-old temple ruins...

April 24, 2011 at 8:54 PM  

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