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Bioarchaeology of East AsiaMovement, Contact, Health$
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Kate Pechenkina and Marc Oxenham

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044279

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044279.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

A Paleohealth Assessment of the Shih-san-hang Site from Iron Age Taiwan

A Paleohealth Assessment of the Shih-san-hang Site from Iron Age Taiwan

(p.417) 17 A Paleohealth Assessment of the Shih-san-hang Site from Iron Age Taiwan
Bioarchaeology of East Asia

Liu Chinhsin

John Krigbaum

Tsang Chenghwa

Liu Yichang

University Press of Florida

The Iron Age in prehistoric Taiwan (ca. 2,000-800 BP) is considered a transitional time between the Neolithic and the Protohistoric period. During this time, Taiwan underwent a suite of sociocultural changes that gave way to a more complex social structure and lifeway in subsequent periods. Human health, gauged by physiological stress indicators, is a proxy for individual life history and human-environmental interaction as a population. In this chapter, oral pathologies and markers of systemic stress are assessed for human skeletal remains (N=306) from the Iron Age site of Shih-san-hang, in coastal northern Taiwan. Compared to other East Asian archaeological skeletal populations, Shih-san-hang remains exhibit low frequencies of most skeletal markers, indicating good overall health during the Iron Age. Generally, healthy dentitions suggest the low-cariogenicity of a wide spectrum diet, likely composed of rice, the meat of domesticated animals, and other hunted or gathered protein. Higher frequency of enamel defects among females implies stressful childhoods, possibly resulting from imbalanced weaning foods. Evidence for chronic anemia was infrequently encountered across demographic parameters. The good skeletal and dental health of the Shih-san-hang people suggests a well-adapted population that maintained a diversity of interactions with the environment.

Keywords:   paleopathology, life history, dental disease, bioculture, East Asian archaeology

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