Handicap, compassion et soin: les sources préhistoriques et polémiques d’une question toujours actuelle

David Doat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the end of the last century, an increasing number of paleopathological reports pretend to present clues in favor of the existence of caring and “compassionate” behaviors toward disabled individuals in prehistoric human societies. Despite the arguments put forward by paleopathologists, this claim raises important questions, not only within the sciences of prehistory but also from the field of the disability studies wherein the notion of “compassion” has been extensively criticized. After a short introduction to paleopathology and to two case studies considered as major references in the scientific literature, this article outlines the main issues which are at stake in the debate that originates in conflicting interpretations with regard to empiric data in the paleopathological literature from 1970 to nowadays.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)10–23
JournalAlter : Revue européenne de recherche sur le handicap
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Prehistory
  • Paleopathology
  • Disability
  • Compassion
  • Care
  • Critique

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