This chapter discusses the history of paleopathology in Southeast Asia. The discipline of paleopathology in the region has a short history, which is reflected in the limited availability of human skeletal remains for analysis due to the relatively late development and sporadic history of archaeology. Despite early archaeological activity by nineteenth-century European colonists in countries such as French Indochine, Malaysia, Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, and Taiwan, a perception persisted until the 1970s among Western scholars that Southeast Asia was rather a late developer, with its position at a crossroads between the major civilizations of India and China resulting in the development of an “Indo-Chinese amalgam” rather than deserving of rigorous research in its own right. Until the mid-twentieth century, research on available human skeletal remains focused on the interminable exercise of morphological description with the aim of creating a human taxonomy.
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