Indo-Pacific Bioarchaeology: Death, Disease, Demography and Diet

1Department of Anatomy, University of Otago 

2School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University

This session explores the latest advances in bioarchaeological research in the Indo-Pacific region. Bioarchaeology has a long history in this part of the world and, with the advancement of methodologies over the past several decades, so too has Indo-Pacific bioarchaeology evolved to provide new insights into past human narratives. The time depth of human and human-ancestor activity in parts of the region has been extended in recent years, attracting global attention. Taking into consideration the insights of new methodologies and revised temporal depth of human lineages, activities, and diseases in the region, the emerging image is one of great complexity in social, biological, and demographic responses through time and space, alluding to the stochastic nature of human populations and processes. This session reports on research from a range of facets of bioarchaeology, such as palaeopathology, osteobiographies, mortuary archaeology, isotopic and genetic studies, palaeoepidemiology, and palaeodemography, and spans high resolution case studies to more regional patterns in human narratives. Inferential frameworks, including cutting edge developments in theory and epistemology, and the application of new methodologies particularly in a multidisciplinary framework will be showcased. Further, this session will situate Indo-Pacific bioarchaeology within global bioarchaeological research, highlighting its contributions to the discipline more broadly.