Researchers find Southeast Asia’s earliest toilet

A team of Australian and Vietnamese researchers have found what is thought to be Southeast Asia’s oldest toilet, potentially shedding light on how hunter-gatherers transitioned into settled communities.

The Rach Nui site near Ho Chi Minh City
The Rach Nui site near Ho Chi Minh City

Research sheds light on how Southeast Asia evolved from Hunter Gatherer to Farming Society
Heritage Daily, 14 June 2012

Asia’s First Toilet Discovered In Southern Vietnam
Asian Scientist, 18 June 2012

Ancient toilet found in Viet Nam [Link no longer active]
Viet Nam News, 20 June 2012

The possible discovery of the earliest toilet in Southern Vietnam could give up clues about how Southeast Asia evolved from a traditional hunter gatherer society to a farming community, new research from The Australian National University reveals.

Dr. Marc Oxenham led a team of Australian and Vietnamese specialists on a seven-week archaeological excavation of a 3,300 to 3,700 year old Neolithic village site in Southern Vietnam earlier this year.

‘Rach Nui’ is a five-meter tall ancient human-made mound surrounded by small tidal streams and mangrove swamps. The site is about 30 km south of modern-day Ho Chi Minh City.

The team believe they found Vietnam’s earliest latrine when they stumbled across more than 30 preserved feces belonging to humans and dogs that contained fish and shattered animal bones.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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