A team of Australian and Vietnamese archaeologists have found what they believe is the earliest toilet in Southern Vietnam, 30 kilometres south of Ho Chi Minh City.

Known as Rach Nui, it is an ancient man-made mound, about five metres tall, surrounded by small tidal streams and mangrove swamps. More than 30 preserved faeces from humans and dogs containing fish and shattered animal bones have been located in the ancient mound. Among the remnants were betel nut and foxtail millet.

"A detailed analysis of these will provide a wealth of information on both the diet of humans and dogs at Rach Nui but also on the types of parasites each had to contend with," Australian National University team leader Dr Marc Oxenham said in a statement.

The scientists hope the find will give clues about how the region changed from a traditional hunter gatherer society to an agricultural community, the origins of farming in southern Vietnam and South-East Asia as a whole.-VNA