Brief communication: New evidence of tuberculosis from prehistoric Korea—Population movement and early evidence of tuberculosis in far East Asia



Tuberculosis has been recognized in Japan and Korea for more than 500 years in historical medical documents. However, the origin and early existence of tuberculosis is poorly understood in these regions. Very recently, skeletal evidence for tuberculosis from the Bronze Age (or Aneolithic) period was reported from Japan and Korea. This article describes a possible case of spinal tuberculosis from an archeological site in Korea, which was dated to the first century BC. This date corresponds to the Aneolithic (Yayoi) period in Japan. Skeletal evidence for tuberculosis during the Bronze Age period found in both Korea and Japan are, therefore, discussed as evidence of the earliest tuberculosis outbreaks in East Asia and as biological indicators of population movement between Korea and Japan during this period. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.