UNESCO Japanese Fund-in Trust Project “Preservation of the Cultural Heritage Complex of Thang Long, Hanoi”

Checking a control point in the GIS training workshop
Example of a survey drawing of colonial architecture
Symposium on overall achievements of the project

 A project to preserve the Thang Long Imperial Citadel site, a World Cultural Heritage located in the heart of Vietnam’s capital city, has been undertaken by the NRICPT, commissioned by the UNESCO Office in Hanoi to spearhead Japanese efforts, since 2010. The project is scheduled to conclude at the end of this year. The following efforts were undertaken at the site since the latter half of last year.

a) GIS training workshops (December 27-28, 2012, May 15–18, 2013, September 10, 2013)
 Selected staff of the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Centre received training from both Japanese and Vietnamese experts to establish a geographic information system (GIS) to manage cultural properties. Attendees learned various topics including basic concepts of using a GIS to manage cultural properties, correcting the base map using measurement points on-site, and ways to create a data base. This training has allowed staff to conduct basic operations themselves.

b) The second workshop on archaeological artifacts (January 23–24, 2013)
 A workshop was co-organized by the NRICPT and the TL Centre in cooperation with the Institute of Archaeology, Imperial City Research Center, and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. The workshop focused on the study of ancient roofing techniques by comparing roof tiles unearthed from the site with those found in Japan. Experts from both countries exchanged their knowledge and opinions, and they also visited excavations at the ancient temple and traces of ceramic kilns.

c) Workshop on sociological assessment (March 4, 2013)
 A workshop on socio-economical assessment of the value of the Thang Long site was co-organized by the NRICPT with the TL Centre and Institute of Vietnamese Studies and Development Sciences, Hanoi National University (IVIDES). Experts from both countries gave presentations based on survey results and interviews with relevant individuals. The experts actively discussed their views on the future use of the site.

d) Survey of buildings from the colonial period (May 20–24, 2013)
 Historical military buildings that were built during French colonial rule at the Thang Long site were surveyed with the TL Centre staff. Together, a new survey and supplementary surveys surveyed 7 buildings in order to prepare accurate documentation of the current status of these buildings, which have value as cultural properties, as basic data for management of cultural properties. Plans are to publish survey drawings, including those of 10 previously surveyed buildings, and to offer the digital data to the TL Centre.

e) Field study on the preservation of excavated remains (August 8–9, 2013)
 At the excavation site, monitoring data were collected from sensors that have measured moisture migration in the soil where archaeological remains are located. Preserved bricks that had been subjected to an outdoor exposure test were also recovered for analysis of the test results. In addition, local staff members were given lectures on the use of equipment and materials and methods of data analysis to enable them to make similar measurements even though the current project has concluded.

f) Symposium on overall achievements of the project (September 11–12, 2013)
 A symposium was held to bring together experts in charge of different portions of the project and other relevant personnel. The symposium served as a forum to summarize achievements of the project thus far and to exchange opinions on issues with an eye towards the future. Nine presentations were made in this two-day symposium with more than 60 participants from both countries and the UNESCO Office in Hanoi. The symposium, which was also one of the events to commemorate 2013 as the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Year, allowed participants to reaffirm the significance of the site in different terms and to sense the extensive achievements of the project firsthand, including studies on appropriate conservation efforts, planning site management, and teaching and training personnel to create a system to preserve and manage the Thang Long site. Japanese personnel are currently working, together with their Vietnamese counterparts, to publish a final project report by the end of the year.

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