Cause and Effect: Human-Animal Relationships and Zoonotic Brucellosis in Long Term Perspective

Author(s): Robin Bendrey; Guillaume Fournié

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "HumAnE Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Zoonotic diseases remain a persistent global challenge, with some 60% of human pathogens of zoonotic origin. They disproportionately impact the world’s most vulnerable populations, particularly those living in close proximity with their animals and who have less access to health information and care. Archaeology’s cultural and biological datasets have the potential to provide long-term perspectives on change in the complex socio-ecological systems that define evolving disease ecologies. In this paper we consider zoonotic brucellosis in archaeological perspective, focussing on the relationships between humans and goats. Brucellosis likely emerged as a zoonosis with caprine farming, yet evidence is elusive in the archaeological record. We explore the potential impact of goat domestication on brucellosis disease dynamics and human infection risk. Results are presented of a model developed to simulate the transmission of Brucella melitensis within early domestic goats in the Early Neolithic Zagros mountains. These show that the pathogen could have been sustained even at low levels of transmission within these populations and also inform on contributing cultural practices. We evaluate our results within the context of holistic ‘One Health’ views of the complexity of zoonoses and consider how archaeology can contribute long-term perspectives to the health impacts of current trajectories.

Cite this Record

Cause and Effect: Human-Animal Relationships and Zoonotic Brucellosis in Long Term Perspective. Robin Bendrey, Guillaume Fournié. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451586)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 26.191; min lat: 12.211 ; max long: 73.477; max lat: 42.94 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25562