Localised Primary Canine Hypoplasia: Implications for Maternal and Infant Health at Man Bac, Vietnam, 4000-3500years BP

Amy Mcdonell, Marc F. Oxenham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to assess the frequency of localised primary canine hypoplasia (LHPC) in a sample of 24 subadults from a Neolithic cemetery assemblage located at Man Bac, northern Vietnam (~4000-3500years BP), and explore the range of factors potentially contributing to the development of this condition. It is found that 41.7% of individuals (20.9% of primary canines) have LHPC, which is similar to the frequency reported in a suite of ancient cemetery series from Neolithic through to Metal Age Thailand. A range of competing aetiological factors considered included trauma to the deciduous canine, ostensibly by way of early childhood exploratory behaviours (e.g. 'mouthing' objects), nutritional and dietary deficiencies (especially vitamin A and D), the impact of the mother's health on the developing foetus as well as the effects of premature birth on the developing child. It is concluded that while the aetiology LHPC is multi-factorial, the reasonably high prevalence of this condition at Man Bac suggests depressed maternal and neonatal health, consistent with a community experiencing high rates of fertility and transitioning to an agricultural subsistence economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-539
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of osteoarchaeology
Issue number4
Early online date6 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements We would like to acknowledge the generous help and assistance of staff and researchers of the Institute of Archaeology, Hanoi, in particular Vice Director Nguyen Giang Hai, Professor Nguyen Lan Cuong,Dr Nguyen Kim Dung, Dr Trinh Hoang Hiep and Mr Nguyen Anh Tuan. This project was supported in part by an Australian Research Council Grant (DP0774079).


  • LHPC
  • Neolithic
  • Neonatal stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Southeast Asia


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