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Anthropological Science
Vol. 111 (2003) No. 2 P 203-223



Original Article

A preliminary assessment of the health and disease of 23 (15 males and eight females) of the most complete and best preserved adult skeletons from the Shi San Hang site (ca 1800-500 B.P.), Taipei Prefecture, Taiwan, is made. Overall, the prehistoric inhabitants of Shi San Hang were relatively healthy. Adult mean statures indicate that the Shi San Hang adults were slightly taller than living Taiwan aboriginals. While moderately high frequencies of dental enamel hypoplasia (37.1%) and cribra orbitalia (38.9%) are observed in these remains, the overall health of these prehistoric inhabitants was good. Low frequencies of premortem tooth loss (0.3%), dental caries (1.0%), and dental abscessing (0.7%), and moderately low frequencies of periodontal disease observed in these remains suggest a mixed economy. Sex differences in the frequencies of some indicators in this prehistoric Taiwan aboriginal skeletal series suggest possible gender-related occupational/cultural uses of teeth. With the exception of spondylolysis in three individuals, bone trauma is rare. There is no evidence of general or specific infectious disease in these remains. Degenerative joint disease is not marked in the specimens examined. Limited comparisons of the results of this study are made with modern and prehistoric skeletal series from surrounding regions of Asia and the Pacific.

Copyright © 2003 The Anthropological Society of Nippon

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