Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-l8x48 Total loading time: 1.103 Render date: 2023-01-31T18:10:09.408Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

The Tràng An Project: Late-to-Post-Pleistocene Settlement of the Lower Song Hong Valley, North Vietnam

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 December 2008


Tràng An is a Vietnamese government supported cultural and ecological park development covering 2,500 hectares that is centred on an isolated massif on the southern edge of the Song Hong delta in Ninh Bình Province, north Vietnam (Fig. 1). The archaeological investigation of Tràng An is being led jointly by the Xuan Truong Construction Corporation and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, under the direction of the lead author. The Corporation is creating an ecologically sensitive development – the ‘Tràng An Tourism Resort’ – within this karstic landscape, which is also the subject of a planned application to UNESCO for World Heritage Site status. International involvement in this work has been at the behest of Nguyêń Van Truong, the General Director of Xuan Truong and at the invitation of the Ninh Bình People's Committee. The research itself is carried out under the guidance of Nguyêń Van Son, the Tràng An Tourism Resort Project Manager. The main focus of the May 2007 season was to undertake excavations at the site of Hang Boi (the ‘Fortune-Teller's Cave’).

Research Article
Copyright © The Royal Asiatic Society 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Bacon, A.-M., Demeter, F., Roussé, S., Long, Vu The, Duringer, P., Antoine, P.-O., Thuy, Nguyen Kim, Mai, Bui Thi, Huong, Nguyen Thi Mai, Dodo, Y., Matsumura, H., Schuster, M., Anezaki, T., “New palaeontological assemblage, sedimentological and chronological data from the Pleistocene Ma U'Oi cave (northern Vietnam)”, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 230 (2006), pp. 280298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barton, H., “The case for rainforest foragers: the starch record at Niah Cave, Sarawak”, Asian Perspectives, 44 (1) (2005), pp. 5672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bonin, F., Devaux, B. and Dupré, A., Turtles of the World (Translated by Pritchard, Peter C. H.) (Baltimore, 2006).Google Scholar
Brooks, N., “Cultural responses to aridity in the Middle Holocene and increased social complexity”, Quaternary International, 151 (2006), pp. 2949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vinh, Bui, “The Da But culture in the Stone Age of Vietnam”, Indo-Pacific Prehistoric Association Bulletin, 10 (1991), pp. 127131.Google Scholar
Chinh, Hoáng Xuân, “Hoabinhian culture and the birth of botanical domestication in Viet Nam”, in The Origins of Agriculture, Metallurgy and the State in Mainland Southeast Asia, ed. Bayard, D., (University of Otago Studies in Prehistoric Anthropology 16, 1984), pp. 169172.Google Scholar
Chinh, Hoáng Xuân, “Faunal and cultural changes from Pleistocene to Holocene in Vietnam”, Indo-Pacific Prehistoric Association Bulletin, 10 (1991), pp. 7478.Google Scholar
Doi, Nguyen Gia, “Results of recent research into the lithic industries from Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene sites in Northern Vietnam”, Indo-Pacific Prehistoric Association Bulletin, 25 (2005), pp. 9597.Google Scholar
Dang, N. T. and Ho, T. H., “Hai loai cua moi thuoc ho Potamidae o mein nam Viet Nam”. Tap chi Sinh Hoc, 25 (3) (2003), pp. 713. [“Two new potamid crab species of Potamidae from the southern part of Vietnam”. Journal of Biology, National Centre for Natural Science and Technology of Vietnam.]Google Scholar
Gibbard, P. and van Kolfschoten, T., “The Pleistocene and Holocene Epochs”, in A Geologic Time Scale, eds. Gradstein, F. M., Ogg, J. G., Smith, A. G. (Cambridge, 2004), pp. 441452.Google Scholar
Glover, I. C., “The Hoabinhian: hunter-gatherers or early agriculturalists in South-East Asia”, Hunter-Gatherers and First Farmers Beyond Europe, ed. Megaw, J. V. S., (Leicester, 1977), pp. 145166.Google Scholar
Gorman, C. F., “Excavations at Spirit Cave, Northern Thailand”, Asian Perspectives 13 (1970), pp. 79107.Google Scholar
Gorman, C. F., “The Hoabinhian and after: subsistence patterns in Southeast Asia during the Late Pleistocene and early Recent periods”, World Archaeology 2 (1971), pp. 300320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gorman, C. F., “A priori models and Thai prehistory: a reconsideration of the beginnings of agriculture in Southeastern Asia”, in Origins of Agriculture, ed. Reed, C. A. (Mouton, 1977), pp. 321355.Google Scholar
Higham, C. F. W. and Maloney, B., “Coastal adaptation, sedentism, and domestication: a model for socio-economic intensification in prehistoric Southeast Asia”, in Foraging and Farming: The evolution of plant exploitation, eds. Harris, D. R. and Hillman, G. C. (London, 1989), pp. 650666.Google Scholar
Higham, C. F. W. and Thosarat, R., Prehistoric Thailand (London, 1998).Google Scholar
Higham, C. F. W. and Thosarat, R., The excavation of Khok Phanom Di: a prehistoric site in Central Thailand, Volume VII: Summary and Conclusions (London, 2004).Google Scholar
Hori, K., Tanabe, S., Saito, Y., Haruyama, S., Nguyen, Viet, Kitamura, A., “Delta initiation and Holocene sea-level change: example from the Song Hong (Red River) delta, Vietnam”, Sedimentary Geology 164 (2005), pp. 237249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hunt, C. O., Gilbertson, D. D., Rushworth, G., “Modern humans in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3: palaeoenvironmental evidence from the Great Cave of Niah”, Journal of Archaeological Science 34 (11) (2007), pp. 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kijngam, A., “The remains of fish, crabs and turtles, in The Excavation of Khok Phanom Di”, Vol. 2: The Biological Report (part 1), eds. Higham, C. F. W. and Bannanurag, R., (London, 1991), pp. 223–230.Google Scholar
Lekagul, B. and McNeely, J. A., Mammals of Thailand, Association for the Conservation of Wildlife, Bangkok (Bangkok, 1988).Google Scholar
Long, Vu The, DeVos, J. and Ciochon, R. L., “The fossil mammal fauna of the Lang Trang caves, Vietnam, compared with Southeast Asian fossil and recent mammal faunas: the geographical implications”, Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association Bulletin 14 (1996), pp. 101109.Google Scholar
Lubell, D., “Prehistoric edible land snails in the circum-Mediterranean: the archaeological evidence”, in Petits Animaux et Sociétés Humaines, eds. Brugal, J.-P. and Desse, J. (CÉPAM, CNRS, Sophia Antipolis, 2004a), pp. 7798.Google Scholar
Lubell, D., “Are land snails a signature for the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in the circum-Mediterranean? in The Neolithization of Eurasia – paradigms, models and concepts involved”, ed. Budja, M., Documenta Praehistorica XXVII (2004b), pp. 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matthews, J. M., “A review of the ‘Hoabinhian’ in Indo-China”, Asian Perspectives 11 (1966), pp. 8695.Google Scholar
Medway, Lord, “Niah shell – 1954–8 (a preliminary report)”, Sarawak Museum Journal, 15–16 (1960), pp. 368379.Google Scholar
Mudar, K. and Anderson, D., “New evidence for Southeast Asian Pleistocene foraging economies: faunal remains from the early levels of Lang Rongrien rockshelter, Krabi, Thailand”, Asian Perspectives, 46 (2) (2007), pp. 298334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ng, P. K. L. and Kosuge, T., “On a new Somanniathelphusa Bott, 1968, from Vietnam (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Parathelphusidae)”, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 108 (1) (1995), pp. 6167.Google Scholar
Ng, P. K. L. and Yeo, D. C. J., “A revision of the genus Tiwaripotamon Bott,1970 (Decapoda: Brachyura: Potamidae), with a description of a new species”, Journal of Crustacean Biology, 21 (1) (2001), pp. 275287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Payne, J. and Francis, C., A field guide to the mammals of Borneo (Kota Kinabalu, 1998).Google Scholar
Piper, P. and Rabett, R., “Hunting in a tropical rainforest: evidence from the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene at Lobang Hangus, Niah Cave, Borneo”, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology; special issue on the vertebrate fauna of Niah Cave, Borneo, eds. Piper, P. and Rabett, R., (2008).Google Scholar
Piper, P. J., Rabett, R. J. and Kurui, E., “Using community composition and structural variation in terminal Pleistocene vertebrate assemblages to identify human hunting behaviour at Niah Caves, Borneo”, Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 28 (2008), pp. 8898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rabett, R., Piper, P. and Barker, G., “Bones from Hell: preliminary results of new work on the Harrisson faunal assemblage from the deepest part of the Niah Cave, Sarawak”, in Uncovering Southeast Asia's Past eds. Bacus, E. A., Glover, I. C., Piggott, V. C. (Singapore, 2006), pp. 4659.Google Scholar
Reimer, P. J., Baillie, M. G. L., Bard, E., Bayliss, A., Beck, J. W., Bertrand, C., Blackwell, P. G., Buck, C. E., Burr, G., Cutler, K. B., Damon, P. E., Edwards, R. L., Fairbanks, R. G., Friedrich, M., Guilderson, T. P., Hughen, K. A., Kromer, B., McCormac, F. G., Manning, S., Bronk, C. Ramsey, Reimer, R. W., Remmele, S., Southon, J. R., Stuiver, M., Talamo, S., Taylor, F. W., Plicht, J. Van Der, Weyhenmeyer, C. E., Radiocarbon 46 (2004), pp.10291058.Google Scholar
Reynolds, T. E. G., “The Hoabinhian: a review”, in Bibliographic Review of Far Eastern Archaeology, ed. Barnes, G. L. (Oxford, 1990), pp. 130.Google Scholar
Reynolds, T. E. G., “The Stone Age of Southeast Asia”, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 59 (1993), pp. 115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schimanski, A. and Stattegger, K., “Deglacial and Holocene evolution of the Vietnam shelf: stratigraphy, sediments and sea-level change”, Marine Geology 214 (2005), pp. 365387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shoocongdej, R., “Working toward an anthropological perspective on Thai prehistory: current research on the Post-Pleistocene”, Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association Bulletin 14 (1) (1996a), pp. 119132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shoocongdej, R., Forager Mobility Organization in Seasonal Tropical Environments: A View from Lang Kamnan Cave, Western Thailand, Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan (1996b).Google Scholar
Stuiver, M. and Reimer, P. J., Radiocarbon 35 (1993), pp. 215230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Szabó, K., Ramirez, H., Anderson, A. and Bellwood, P., “Prehistoric Subsistence Strategies on the Batanes Islands, northern Philippines”, Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 23 (2003), pp. 163171.Google Scholar
Tâń, Nguyen Cao, Nhuńg phât hun mx vé khao côʾ huc năm (in Vietnamese) (2002).Google Scholar
Tan, Ha Van, “The Hoabinhian and before”, Indo-Pacific Prehistoric Association Bulletin 16 (3) (1997), pp. 3541.Google Scholar
Tan, Ha Van, “Prehistoric Archaeological Research in Vietnam Today”, paper presented at The International Colloquium on Archaeology in Southeast Asia in the 3rd Millennium, Penang Malaysia (1999).Google Scholar
Tanabe, S., Kazuaki, H., Saito, Y., Shigeko, H., Vu, Van Phai, Kitamura, A., “Song Hong (Red River) delta evolution related to millennium-scale Holocene sea-level changes”, Quaternary Science Reviews 22 (2003), pp. 23452361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tanabe, S., Saito, Y., Vu, Q. L., Hanebuth, T. J. J., Kitamura, A., Ngo, Q. T., “Holocene evolution of the Song Hong (Red River) delta system, northern Vietnam”, Sedimentary Geology 187 (2006), pp. 2961.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Viet, Nguyen, “The Da But culture: evidence for cultural development in Vietnam during the middle Holocene”, Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association Bulletin 25 (3) (2005), pp. 8993.Google Scholar
Viet, Nguyen, “Hoabhinhian food strategy in Viet Nam, in Southeast Asian Archaeology”: Wilhem G. Solheim II Festschrift, ed. Paz, V.. (Quezon City, 2004), pp. 442–462.Google Scholar
Tjia, H. D., “Sea-level changes in the tectonically stable Malay-Thai peninsula”, Quaternary International 31 (1996), pp. 95101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Verstappen, H. Th., “The effect of climatic change on Southeast Asian geomorphology”, Journal of Quaternary Science 12 (5) (1997), pp. 413418.3.0.CO;2-P>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Voris, H. K., “Maps of Pleistocene sea levels in Southeast Asia: shorelines, river systems and time durations”, Journal of Biogeography 27 (2000), pp. 11531167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yen, D. E., “Hoabinhian horticulture? The evidence and the questions from northwest Thailand”, in Sunda and Sahul: Prehistoric studies in Southeast Asia, Melanesia and Australia, American Anthropologist eds. Allen, J., Golson, J., Jones, R., pp. 567–599.Google Scholar
Yeo, D. C. J. and Ng, P. K. L., “On the genus “Potamon” and allies in Indochina (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Potamidae)”, The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 16 (2007), pp. 273308.Google Scholar
Majid, Zuraina, The Excavation of Gua Gunung Runtuh and the Discovery of the Perak Man in Malaysia (Department of Museums and Antiquity Malaysia, 1994).Google Scholar
Majid, Zuraina, “Radiocarbon Dates and the Cultural Sequence in the Lenggong Valley and Beyond”, Malaysia Museums Journal 34 (1998), pp. 241249.Google Scholar
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Tràng An Project: Late-to-Post-Pleistocene Settlement of the Lower Song Hong Valley, North Vietnam
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The Tràng An Project: Late-to-Post-Pleistocene Settlement of the Lower Song Hong Valley, North Vietnam
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The Tràng An Project: Late-to-Post-Pleistocene Settlement of the Lower Song Hong Valley, North Vietnam
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *