Vietnam Part of Major Trade Network 4,500 Years Ago

Vietnam stone tool archaeology excavation
Excavation of stone tool specialist community in south Vietnam. Photo credit Australian National University.

Archaeologists from the Australian National University have uncovered evidence of a major Neolithic trade network extending through southern Vietnam.


Scientists say the network, which began 4,500 years ago, lasted 1,500 years and had a reach of over 100 miles.  According to their research, lots of communities established themselves along tributaries in southern Vietnam.  The communities developed independently of each other, with distinct material goods and cultures, and it was between these various groups that trading began.


A sophisticated trade network, with various communities producing specific types of goods to trade with others, was formed.  As lead archaeologist, Dr. Catherine Frieman said in a statement, “This isn’t a case of people producing a couple of extra items on top of what they need.  It’s a major operation.”


As an example, Frieman points to a community that produced expertly crafted stone tools despite being located far from the necessary raw materials.  She say the tool making community must have imported stone to produce tools to trade to other groups. 


The research team published their findings in the journal Antiquity.  Their article can be found here.


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