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The settlement of Southeast Asia has traditionally been discussed by scholars in terms of the spread of rice agriculture and the Austronesian and Austro-Asiatic language families. While this framework has also been adopted by some geneticists, many have moved toward a new paradigm. This stresses the importance of climate change over the past 50,000 years in the peopling of the region, and in particular the impact of global warming and sea-level rises after the Last Glacial Maximum, around 20,000 years ago. This chapter summarizes some current thinking in the archaeogenetics of the region, with a discussion of the broad phylogeographic patterns and time depth of the maternal lineages, as estimated from variation in the mitochondrial DNA. It places this discussion in the context of what is known about the paternal line of descent and genome-wide patterns.

Original publication





Book title

The Oxford Handbook of Early Southeast Asia

Publication Date



70 - 91