It is unlikely that local or highly specific typological characteristics of language correlate with other aspects of human culture and history. However, at regional scale, the broad typology of languages does reflect bottlenecks. The paper argues that these regions of high typological similarity are due neither to chance nor long-term convergence, but reflect the initial conditions of settlement. This suggests that regions can be characterised by negative typology, i.e., the absence of globally common traits. Conversely, typological uniformity occurs in mainland Southeast Asia, a region notable for the similarities between language structures. An expansion of the remit of typology can uncover large regional patterns which can be tied to the archaeological narrative of the early expansion of modern humans.