Category Archives: blogging

Summer reading


summer 2

The summer is officially over this week so its time for my quarterly reading update. I read a more eclectic mix of topics this summer than usual. These are just those that really stood out as being useful for my purposes. I hope you find something of interest!


  • Gregory Aldrete. Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome. 2006.
  • Robert Sallares, Malaria and Rome: A History of Malaria in Ancient Italy, 2002
  • Nukhet Varlik. Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean: The Ottoman Experience 1347-1600. Cambridge UP, 2015
MA Thesis

Katharine Dean. Modeling plague transmission in Medieval European cities. (2015, June 1). MA Thesis.  Oslo.


  • Kimura, H., Saitoh, M., Kobayashi, M., Ishii, H., Saraya, T., Kurai, D., et al. (2015). Molecular evolution of haemagglutinin (H) gene in measles virus. Scientific Reports, 1–10. doi:10.1038/srep11648
  • Scheidel, W. (2015). Death and the City: Ancient Rome and Beyond. Available at SSRN 2609651.
  • Smith-Guzmán, N. E. (2015). The skeletal manifestation of malaria: An epidemiological approach using documented skeletal collections. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, n/a–n/a.
  • Sigl, M., Winstrup, M., McConnell, J. R., Welten, K. C., Plunkett, G., Ludlow, F., et al. (2015). Timing and climate forcing of volcanic eruptions for the past 2,500 years. Nature.

  • Kostick, C., & Ludlow, F. (2015). The dating of volcanic events and their impact upon European society, 400-800 CE (Vol. 5, pp. 7–30). Post-Classical Archaeologies.

  • Schats, R. (2015). Malaise and mosquitos: osteoarchaeological evidence for malaria in the medieval Netherlands. Analecta Praehistoricaleidensia, 45, 133–140.
  • Eisen, R. J., Dennis, D. T., & Gage, K. L. (2015). The Role of Early-Phase Transmission in the Spread of Yersinia pestis. Journal of Medical Entomology, tjv128–10.

Contagions in 2014

From a 2014 post on 20th century art. This work by Julian Hoke Harris is found on the Fulton County Health Services building in Atlanta, GA.

Time for a year end assessment. Not looking forward to this one because it was a slow year here at Contagions. I only had 22 posts in the last year bringing the total for the blog up to 182. Still, thanks largely to these archived posts, I had 110,000 visitors last year. That is incredible! Thank you for reading over the last year and for finding old posts worth returning for! All five of my top posts for the year, were old ones!  Ebola’s Chain of Infection was the most popular new post with 1,882 views, followed by The Paleomicrobiology of Malarial Detection with 1,405 visits.

Resolutions for 2015:

  • Make blogging a habit again; post more than twice a month.
  • Update a nearly five year old post that is consistently in my top five of the year.
  • Loosen up a bit and diversify the topics more.

I started this blog to collect some thoughts and observations on the intersection history and infectious disease. Since then I’ve tried to find ways to apply modern scientific observations to historical problems, and I will continue to do that – even if I’m the only one who sees the connection! I had the good fortune to begin blogging when paleomicrobiology was really beginning to mature and I’ll keep my eye on developments there too. There is the potential for this to be an exciting year for the intersection of history and science. Fingers crossed that there will be synergy. So I hope that in 2015 I get back into the groove of where this blog began and I hope you will stay along for the ride.

Reading in July

July 2014 reading 1


As I start working on my book project, I’m going to have less time to develop blog posts, so I thought I would share what I’m reading with you each month. This will also give me an incentive to keep blogging and reading! I’ll list the books I’ve read and the papers that I thought were particularly interesting.



  • Squatriti, Paolo. “Offa’s Dyke Between Nature and Culture.” Environmental History, 2004, 37–56.
  • Squatriti, Paolo. “The Floods of 589 and Climate Change at the Beginning of the Middle Ages: an Italian Microhistory.” Speculum 85, no. 4 (November 18, 2010): 799–826. doi:10.1017/S0038713410002290.
  • Slavin, P. “Warfare and Ecological Destruction in Early Fourteenth-Century British Isles.” Environmental History 19, no. 3 (June 20, 2014): 528–50. doi:10.1093/envhis/emu033.