The archaeological excavations carried out recently have proven the presence of human beings in the territory of Vietnam since the Palaeolithic Age or the Old Stone Age (300,000 – 500,000 years). In the Neolithic Age (New Stone Age), Hoa Binh – Bac Son cultures (about 10,000 BC) had witnessed the development of agriculture and animal husbandry, including even the technique of paddy rice cultivation.
The Vietnamese as an ethnic group had been formed and developed early in the Red river and Ma river delta situated in the northern part of present-day Vietnam. Generation to generation, people moved from highland and mountainous areas to the plains, developing new lands for cultivation. They constructed a system of irrigation dams and dykes to tame the mighty Red River, the river that brought about several devastating floods every year. It is a process of continuous labour to control water – to fight against flood, storm and drought, to build up irrigation dams and canals for agricultural cultivation that formed the paddy rice civilization and the commune culture.
By the Bronze Age, a unique and distinct civilization had been formed that reached a high level in technical skill as well as art – the brilliant Dong Son culture. The recent ethnological, historical and archaeological studies and research have asserted the existence of the Hung Kings’ period in Van Lang Kingdom (later Au Lac Kingdom) about 1000 years BC. In 200 BC, the Au Lac Kingdom was invaded and annexed into the giant empire of the Han feudalism in the north. Nevertheless, the ten-century domination of Chinese feudalism could not assimilate Vietnamese culture and break the Viet people’s brave resistance.