Laboratory Techniques for the Detection of Human Parasites in Archaeological Samples.

Author(s): Jeremy Pye

Year: 2015


Parasites have had a significant impact on the course of human history. Activities of a variety of parasites throughout the world can lead to lethargy, dementia, malabsorption of nutrients, bowel obstruction, internal bleeding, blindness, physical disability and deformation, and many other symptoms of disease. Furthermore, parasites have caused the deaths of countless individuals, have resulted in the abandonment of settlements, and have even affected the outcome of wars. The effect that parasitic illness has had on people worldwide is a hot topic in fields like medical anthropology. It is curious, therefore, that archaeologists have paid relatively little attention to looking for evidence of parasites in archaeological samples. This poster explores a variety of laboratory techniques that can be used to identify evidence of parasites in samples that can be collected from archaeological contexts. Perhaps once more archaeologists are aware of the importance of archaeoparasitological testing, we can make more informed interpretations of past population health, as it relates to parasitic disease.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

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Laboratory Techniques for the Detection of Human Parasites in Archaeological Samples.. Jeremy Pye. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398103) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8R78HTB

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SAA 2015 Poster Presentation