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Between foraging and farming: strategic responses to the Holocene Thermal Maximum in Southeast Asia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2018

Marc F. Oxenham*
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology & Anthropology, Banks Building, Australian National University, Linnaeus Way, Acton ACT 2601, Australia
Hiep Hoang Trinh
Affiliation:
Department of Prehistoric Archaeology, Vietnam Institute of Archaeology, 61 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Anna Willis
Affiliation:
College of Arts, Society & Education, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
Rebecca K. Jones
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology & Anthropology, Banks Building, Australian National University, Linnaeus Way, Acton ACT 2601, Australia
Kathryn Domett
Affiliation:
College of Medicine & Dentistry, James Cook University, QLD 4811, Townsville, Australia
Cristina Castillo
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Rachel Wood
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology & Anthropology, Banks Building, Australian National University, Linnaeus Way, Acton ACT 2601, Australia
Peter Bellwood
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology & Anthropology, Banks Building, Australian National University, Linnaeus Way, Acton ACT 2601, Australia
Monica Tromp
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Kahlaische Strasse 10, D-07745, Jena, Germany Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Ainslee Kells
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology & Anthropology, Banks Building, Australian National University, Linnaeus Way, Acton ACT 2601, Australia
Philip Piper
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology & Anthropology, Banks Building, Australian National University, Linnaeus Way, Acton ACT 2601, Australia
Son Thanh Pham
Affiliation:
C.so Ercole I d'Este 32, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Ferrara University, Via Borsari, 46-44121 Ferrara, Italy
Hirofumi Matsumura
Affiliation:
School of Health Science, Sapporo Medical University, S1W17, Chuoh-ku Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8556, Japan
Hallie Buckley
Affiliation:
Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
*
*Author for correspondence (Email: marc.oxenham@anu.edu.au)

Abstract

Large, ‘complex’ pre-Neolithic hunter-gatherer communities thrived in southern China and northern Vietnam, contemporaneous with the expansion of farming. Research at Con Co Ngua in Vietnam suggests that such hunter-gatherer populations shared characteristics with early farming communities: high disease loads, pottery, complex mortuary practices and access to stable sources of carbohydrates and protein. The substantive difference was in the use of domesticated plants and animals—effectively representing alternative responses to optimal climatic conditions. The work here suggests that the supposed correlation between farming and a decline in health may need to be reassessed.

Type
Research
Copyright
© Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2018 

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