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 huntergatherer 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.
- Con Co Ngua
- Southeast Asia