Cao Bang is a cradle of prehistoric people. Extensive archaeological research shows that this area has been home to people for at least 20,000 years. There are relics from the late Paleolithic, such as Lung O (Quang Uyen), Thuong Ha (Bao Lac), Bo Ma (Hung Dao, Cao Bang City) and relics from the Neolithic in Nguom Boc (Hoa An), Nguom Vai, Nguom Cang, Nguom Slan (Thong Nong), Nguom Cang (Trung Khanh). Also recovered from throughout the province are Iron Age artifacts including bronze drums, axes, and javelins, together with a range of ceramics of the Dong Son Culture.
Relics of the Son Vi Culture (Late Paleolithic, 20,000-12,000 B.C) have been found at three sites in Cao Bang: Lung O (Quang Uyen); Bo Ma (Hung Dao commune, Hoa An district, now Cao Bang city) and Thuong Ha (Bao Lac). The former two are in the Cao Bang Scenic Geopark. Most relics are primitive tools made of conglomerate, sandstone, quartzite and porphyritic granite. Late Paleolithic people occupied hilly areas, on alluvial terraces along rivers, and in caves and rock shelters.
Lung O cave
Lung O cave (coordinate: 647235, 2509838) distributes on the karst slope in Ta Phay village, Chi Thao commune, Quang Uyen. The cave develops in 320° direction in a light grey limestone block of Bac Son formation (C-P bs). Its entrance is about 20 m wide, ~ 20 m deep. In front of the cave is a large karst valley – currently used to grow crops. It is surrounded by a limestone mountain system to the north and southeast and shielded by a mountain range – low terrigenous formation to the south.
The cave is consisted of 2 levels; the upper level is about 5m higher than the floor; the cave entrance is covered by a dark yellow sedimentary block. The lower level develops deeper in 320° direction to form a chamber which is quite dark and more than 10m deep. There are many paleontological fossils in the sedimentary block outside the cave entrance, including some fossils of animal bones, a bat jaw and teeth (Chiroptra, sp.) and bamboo rat teeth (Rhizomys sp.). Physical vestiges of primitive man were also discovered in the lower cave level.
Lung O cave
Animal remains: mostly incipient fossils of tibia of small animals such as porcupine and bamboo rat. All of them still cling with light yellow sediment. There are also traces of coal ash and a few bone fragments with burning traces. Maybe this is the remains of a fire.
Relics: stone tools are the only type of relics found here, mostly in exploratory holes. There are total 20 stone relics, 2 of which were picked up on the ground surface.
Types of Lung O stone tools: Chopping tool (2), scraping tool (2), grinding pestle (1), and flakes.
Tool-making materials in Lung O are made from quartzite, porphyry, phtanite and sandstone pebbles in rivers and streams. In particular, quartzite pebbles account for the most part, followed porphyry and sandstone. Most relics are flaked pebbles; there is no ground stone or pottery.
Lung O is an archeological site of the prehistoric residence with full evidence of fire, working tools and food remnants. Lung O was also a place for tool making. Lung O residents lived in caves, conducting activities such as exploitation of food sources from plants and animals, and making tools, which was basically the same as residents of the well-known prehistoric culture system in our country. Rudimentary chopping and scraping tools have entirely traditional appearance of the Paleolithic types and techniques.