LXML Presents Cultural Heritage Finds to Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism
February 09, 2022
On 4 February 2022, Lane Xang Minerals Limited Sepon (LXML) Sepon Mine presented 281 ancient cultural artefacts to the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism in a ceremony celebrating LXML’s significant support over several decades for archaeological research and the protection of cultural heritage in the Lao PDR. Fashioned from stone, copper, iron, ceramics, crucibles, and gems, among others, the items were discovered in the area surrounding Sepon mine.
Since 2008, LXML has invested over US$1.6 million supporting the protection of 3,000 years of Lao history and heritage through an archaeological research program with the Department of Heritage (DoH) of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, the National University of Laos, and James Cook University of Australia. The program sponsors fieldwork uniting a unique community at local, national, and international levels. Volunteers from Vientiane, local villagers, Australian and Lao students, archaeologists and Lao officials stationed at Sepon mine cooperate closely together to conduct archeological research and share findings internationally.
Ms Souansavanh Viyaket, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism and Ms Lingthong Sengtavanh, Vice Governor of Savannakhet Province, presided over the important event in Vilabouly District, Savannakhet Province, acknowledging the company’s long term support for cultural heritage preservation, and the importance of continuing to protect cultural sites to promote tourism in the Lao PDR.
Mr Saman Aneka, LXML Managing Director handed the artefacts to Ms Vanpheng Keopanya, Director of the Lao National Museum, Mr Nalathiveth Ammalathithada, Director of Savannakhet Museum, and Ms Khanha Sayasane, Head of Vilabouly Cultural Hall in the presence of Mr Khamphouy Sibounheuang, Governor of Vilabouly District and Mr Paul Harris, LXML General Manager of LXML.
The cultural artefacts will be on display at the Lao National Museum (130 items, Savannakhet Museum (68 items), and Vilabouly Cultural Hall (83 items) for the education and enjoyment of the population and international visitors. In 2019, LXML handed 7,881 important cultural artefacts to the Lao Government for the collection.
“I am overjoyed that LXML is continuing to support archeological research and preservation of Lao PDR’s cultural heritage,” said Ms Souansavanh Viyaket, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism. “These items will always be on display for everyone to enjoy to encourage historical knowledge and research.”
“LXML is proud to support cooperation with the Department of Heritage,” said Mr Paul Harris, LXML General Manager. “The artefacts open a door into fascinating ancient civilizations to show us how our ancestors lived thousands of years ago. The Vilabouly Cultural Hall is an exciting drawcard for tourists wishing to travel within Laos.”
Remarkable discoveries of artefacts and heritage sites have been made in the area surrounding Sepon mine. In March 2018, a team of archaeologists discovered evidence of more than 200 ancient mine shafts dating back over 3,000 years.
Vilabouly is acknowledged internationally as one of the first mining and metallurgy sites in Southeast Asia. Ancient mining practices continued there until about 1,300 years ago, (700 AD), where people excavated rich copper ore and refined it in Peun Baolo and Thong Na-Gneuak (Dragon or “Naga Serpent” Field) locations, and people have exchanged minerals and metals ever since in an thought-provoking example of thriving regional trade routes dating back several centuries.
Other artefacts found include mining equipment such as wooden ladders, pulleys, mallets, painted bamboo baskets, and rope made from lianas; a large ‘Dong Son’ bronze era drum currently on display at the National Museum in Vientiane; and crucibles, copper ingots, jewellery, ceremonial items, weapons, pottery, and other artefacts highlighting Laos’ pivotal place in regional history.
Mining has been essential in the development of civilisation and society throughout history. Excavations will continue and we look forward to reveal more exciting discoveries about Lao culture and history.