Ancient Plague Strains in Kyrgyzstan

The process of mapping ancient Yersinia pestis (plague) strains along the central Asian mountain chain, or greater Himalayas continues. Up to now, most of the living ancient strains have been mapped in Tibet/western China and a few scattered other places (Cui et al, 2010).  Russian scholars have a released data on mapped ancient strains of Yersinia... Continue Reading →

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Presentations on the Plague from the European Association of Archaeologists, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2016

I just discovered that most of the presentations from the "Plague in Diachronic and Interdisciplinary Perspective" session of the Europan Association of Archaeologists meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania on 2 September 2016 are now on YouTube.  I think I have collected them all here. Enjoy 3 hours of plague talks! Introduction-Plague in diachronic and Interdisciplinary perspective by... Continue Reading →

Molecular Confirmation of Yersinia pestis in 6th century Bavaria

Erasing any lingering doubts about the agent of the Plague of Justinian, a group of German biological anthropologists have shown conclusively that Yersinia pestis caused an epidemic in a 6th century Bavarian cemetery at Aschheim. Harbeck et al (2013) provide a convincing refutation of previous theories about the etiologic agent of the Plague of Justinian.... Continue Reading →

Visualizing the Plague of Justinian in the Mediterranean

Browsing through Academia.edu this morning I came across some graphics from the Topographies of Entanglements project from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Division of Byzantine Research. Unfortunately there is very little explanation with these graphics. Comparing these two graphs they are not conveying exactly the same information.  How do we define a wave of plague?... Continue Reading →

Remodeling the Plague Phylogenetic Tree

Understanding the molecular history of any organism requires fitting together ancient DNA with the phylogenetic tree constructed with living exemplars. Constructing a bacterial phylogenetic tree is a snapshot of a moving target because its impossible to sample all of the strains.  A recent study by the East Smithfield group ( Bos et al, 2012 [2])... Continue Reading →

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