Biological responses to change in prehistoric Viet Nam

Marc F. Oxenham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A bioarchaeological analysis of human remains from Con Co Ngua, a Da But culture period cemetery site in northern Viet Nam (n = 96), and an aggregated sample from 11 sites, mostly from the Red River delta region (n = 96) representing the emerging Metal period in the same region, is carried out. This study focuses on a range of skeletal and dental signatures of both health and behavior, including carious lesions, antemortem. tooth loss, alveolar defects of pulpal origin, dental task wear facets, cribra orbitalia, linear enamel hypoplasia, trauma, and chronic infectious disease. The findings of reasonably good oral health may be reflective of a lack of agricultural products in the diet and/or the low cariogenicity of rice. The physiological health of the samples was found to be compromised, with an elevated mortality among younger individuals that expressed evidence of physiological disturbance as measured by cribra orbitalia and/or linear enamel hypoplasia. The nature and frequency of trauma in both periods was not necessarily indicative of specific behaviors, with general misadventure and interpersonal violence as competing causes. The evidence for chronic infectious disease is apparent only in the Metal period and may be related to a range of factors, some of which include the effects of migration, changes to land use patterns, and/or the evolution of increased pathogen virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-239
Number of pages28
JournalAsian Perspectives
Volume45
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2006

Keywords

  • Con Co Ngua
  • Da But period
  • Metal period
  • Viet Nam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Archaeology

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