"Unwanted Guests": Evidence of Parasitic Infections in Archaeological Mortuary Contexts

Author(s): Jeremy Pye

Year: 2017


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. A variety of laboratory techniques exist that can be used to identify evidence of parasites preserved in archaeological mortuary contexts. In order to make informed interpretations of past population health, researchers must take into account the effects of parasitic disease.

Cite this Record

"Unwanted Guests": Evidence of Parasitic Infections in Archaeological Mortuary Contexts. Jeremy Pye. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435336)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 165