Domestication and large animal interactions: Skeletal trauma in northern Vietnam during the hunter-gatherer Da but period

Rachel M. Scott*, Hallie R. Buckley, Kate Domett, Monica Tromp, Hiep Hoang Trinh, Anna Willis, Hirofumi Matsumura, Marc F. Oxenham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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The aim of this paper is to test the hypothesis that healed traumatic injuries in the pre-Neolithic assemblage of Con Co Ngua, northern Vietnam (c. 6800–6200 cal BP) are consistent with large wild animal interactions prior to their domestication. The core sample included 110 adult (aged ≥ 18 years) individuals, while comparisons are made with an additional six skeletal series from Neolithic through to Iron Age Vietnam, Thailand, and Mongolia. All post cranial skeletal elements were assessed for signs of healed trauma and identified cases were further x-rayed. Crude trauma prevalence (14/110, 12.7%) was not significantly different between males (8/52) and females (5/37) (χ2 = 0.061, p = 0.805). Nor were there significant differences in the prevalence of fractured limbs, although males displayed greater rates of lower limb bone trauma than females. Further, distinct from females, half the injured males suffered vertebral fractures, consistent with high-energy trauma. The first hypothesis is supported, while some support for the sexual divisions of labour was found. The prevalence and pattern of fractured limbs at CCN when compared with other Southeast and East Asian sites is most similar to the agropastoral site of Lamadong, China. The potential for skeletal trauma to assess animal trapping and herding practices prior to domestication in the past is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0218777
Number of pages24
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number9
Early online date4 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding: Grant sponsors were: Australian Research Council DP110101097; FT 120100299 awarded to MO; Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), Durham University and the COFUND 'Durham International Fellowships for Research and Enterprise' scheme. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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