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Plagues in History

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Karen Slonim

Plagues in HistoryKey Issues How anthropologists study disease in the pastPaleopathology Types of evidence for disease in human history Limitations of evidence What is knowable and what isntEpidemiological transition theoryFramework of three major shifts in disease patterns in human history Omran 1971Armelagos BarnesLin 1966 Interaction of biology and culturedisease patterns Major shifts in human lifestyles subsistence patternsnew diseasesHow do we know about plagues in the past Palaeopathology The science of interpreting evidence of disease in ancient human remains Mostly dealing with bones and teethPrimarily carried out by physical anthropologistsDescription and analysis of standard observations on remainsdiagnosisDirect evidence observations of remainsIndirect evidence secondary formscopper lights soil analysis the study of animal remains written referenceInterpretation ofImpact on individualImpact on society Comparison to other studiesSituate within framework of changes in disease experience in human historyEpidemiological transition theoryRemains of people in the past MummiesSkeletal and dental remains DNA from infectious agents Mummies Very limited sample because they are only found in a few different places in the world in only a few time periodsNatural process man peat bog Tollund 2200 years ago Anaerobic conditionslacking oxygen Ex Danish peat bog bog bodies Can get a sense of diet and age of remainsOetzifrozen conditions Alpine region bordering AustriaItaly 5300 years ago Copper Age Deliberate mummification
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