Thesis title: The Neolithic of southern Vietnam
My research focuses on Neolithic occupation in southern Vietnam with a specific interest in establishing a ceramic sequence for the region. Past hypotheses of movements and developments of Neolithic cultures have often neglected to include southern Vietnam, sometimes Vietnam entirely. With excavations at An Son in recent years these models can be re-evaluated in light of well-documented fieldwork that exercised comprehensive and modern methodologies. The site of An Son has a 1000 year sequence that extends to approximately 4500 cal. BP. The ceramics of An Son are to be characterised in terms of their form, decoration, surface treatment, use and discard, and fabric. Material culture and site patterning of Neolithic southern Vietnam in comparison to contemporary and earlier sites of northern Vietnam and south-eastern China warrants consideration for the investigation of coastal movements. Little information can be gained from Cambodian sites as there is little documented for the Neolithic era. However, beyond the border, central and northeast Thailand is an area of suitable comparable documented material from research that is ongoing. Inland relationships should be considered as well as coastal links, far and near. The sites around the coast of the Gulf of Thailand may offer closer links to An Son to identify the variation and similarities in the phenomenon of rice cultivation and Neolithic habitation in this region of Southeast Asia. It is envisioned that a greater understanding of the Neolithic in southern Vietnam and its placement in the wider region will help to comprehend the local contribution and external contacts that played an important part in Metal Age cultural developments in this region. These discussions may be held in contrast to those of other unique contemporary cultural occurrences in Vietnam and beyond the current political boundaries.
An Son excavation 2009 (Nguyen Quoc Manh)
Incised ware from Ga Ma Voi, central Vietnam. (C.Sarjeant)