Archaeological Similarities Between Early Korea and Vietnam

Kwon Ohyoung1 & Oh Youngchan2

1Seoul National University, South Korea

2Ewha Womans University, South Korea

Korea and Vietnam are regions neighbouring China, and each had interactions with the various Chinese dynasties throughout history. This paper focuses on similarities and contrasts between the history and archaeology of the early polities of Wiman Joseon (c. 195 - 108 BCE) and Nan Viet (203 - 111 BCE), and Baekje (c. 3rd - 660) and Lâm Ấp (c. 192 - 629). During the Han Chinese period, Chinese refugees are recorded as having migrated into both regions. Shiji presents similar narratives in which leaders Wiman and Triệu Đà established Wiman Joseon in Korea and Nam Viet in Vietnam, respectively. In both early states, a joint regime of Chinese and indigenous rulers ruled the local population. In 111 BCE, Han China invaded and established nine commanderies in Nam Viet, and in 108 BCE it conquered Wiman Joseon, establishing four commanderies. Archaeology in Korea is yet to discover  Wiman Joseon, but remains of the subsequent Lelang Commanderies have been excavated, first during the Japanese colonial period and since by North Korean archaeologists. Conversely, in Vietnam the royal palace and tombs of Nam Viet have been excavated since the 1980s, but few archaeological remains of the Han commanderies have been identified. From the 2nd century CE, meanwhile, first generation states of Baekje and Lâm Ấp arose in central west Korea and central Vietnam, respectively. There is evidence for political and cultural exchange between each of these states and the contemporary Chinese dynasties. Archaeological remains of Chinese origin include pottery with coin patterns, celadon ewers with chicken heads, and roof-tiles with human face designs. All these artefacts demonstrate the inter-relationship between the Chinese dynasties and the two regions, and contribute to understanding the development of the early states in Korea and Vietnam.