"Call Any Vegetable": Culinary Practices in Neolithic and Metal Age Mekong River Delta


Almost nothing is known about the early development and diversity of Vietnamese cuisine, which potentially has its origin more than 2,000 years ago. This research investigates the culinary practices in southern Vietnam during the Neolithic and Metal Age (3000 BC-AD 500) by analysis of food residues recovered from earthenware pottery. To identify former food contents, organic residue analysis was conducted on sampled pottery vessels recovered from two Neolithic sites (Rạch Núi and An Sơn) and two Metal Age sites (Lò Gạch and Gò Ô Chùa). Data assayed include lipid biomarker compound distributions, compound-specific carbon isotopes of palmitic and stearic acids, as well as bulk carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of adhered residues. Results indicate that the people who inhabited these sites had broadly similar culinary practices, but differed possibly due to local ecology and differential access. Continuity of culinary practices involving the usage of earthenware pottery vessels to prepare and serve plant and aquatic food sources is observed from Neolithic to Metal Age. It is also demonstrated by the evidence for a common plant food source available within the vicinities of three inland sites. Results of this study contribute to the construction of long-term culinary heritage of Mekong River Delta.

Cite this Record

"Call Any Vegetable": Culinary Practices in Neolithic and Metal Age Mekong River Delta. Michelle Eusebio, Philip Piper, Andrew Zimmerman, T. Elliott Arnold, John Krigbaum. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430410)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15263