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

Marc F. Oxenham*, Hiep Hoang Trinh, Anna Willis, Rebecca K. Jones, Kathryn Domett, Cristina Castillo, Rachel Wood, Peter Bellwood, Monica Tromp, Ainslee Kells, Philip Piper, Son Thanh Pham, Hirofumi Matsumura, Hallie Buckley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-957
Number of pages18
Issue number364
Early online date22 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Grant sponsors: Australian Research Council DP110101097; FT120100299; FT100100527; JSPS16H02527.

To view supplementary material for this article, please visit https://doi.or/0.1518/qy.2018.69


  • Con Co Ngua
  • Domestication
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Palaeopathology
  • Southeast Asia


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