Osteobiography of a male from the Da But site of Con co Ngua, Vietnam: skeletal pathology in the context of subsistence change
(University of Otago)
Marc Oxenham (ANU)
Hiep Trinh Hoang (Institute of Archaeology)
Paper short abstract:
This paper provides an osteobiography of a robust male with skeletal trauma from the Mid- Holocene site of Con co Ngua, Thanh Hoa Province, northern Vietnam.
Paper long abstract:
The Mid- Holocene site of Con co Ngua from the Thanh Hoa Province, northern Vietnam is a rare example of a high population density forager community containing human skeletal remains dated to between 3000-4000 BCE. Nearly 100 individuals were excavated from this site in 1979/80 and further excavation in 2013 yielded another 146 burials of generally good skeletal preservation. A sample of this size and from this context provides the opportunity to begin to address questions regarding the impact of a relatively high population density hunter-gather subsistence economy on the health of communities from this region.
Among the burials excavated in 2013 was a robust adult male (ID 2013CCNM117), with evidence of several long bone fractures in the upper and lower limbs. 2013CCNM117 also has pathological thickening of the cortices of all major right upper limb bones and femoral shafts suggestive of infectious or endocrine disease. Both multiple fractures and long bone cortical expansion were observed in other individuals from this site and higher levels of skeletal trauma have been reported from CCN compared to other SEAsian sites. This paper will consider this trauma pattern within the context of the subsistence strategy of the period and trauma in the wider geographical region of SEAsia. A full differential diagnosis of the cortical long bone expansion will be discussed and considered within the context of previous findings of low to absent infectious disease prevalence in this period that only increased with the intensification of agriculture in the subsequent Neolithic and Metal periods.
Addressing regional and world-scale archaeological questions through human bioarchaeology in Southeast Asia