Category Archives: One Health

Reading through Spring

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It’s been a busy winter and spring but I did manage to get some reading done.

Books

Donald McNeill. Zika: The Emerging Epidemic., 2016 microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)

Bruce Campbell. The Great Transition: Climate, Disease, and Society in the Late Medieval World Oxford University Press, 2016. microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1) (results of roundtable coming soon)

Jessica Wapner The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level, 2013. microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)

Holy Tucker, City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris, WW Norton & Company. 2016 microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)

Anthony Martin, The Evolution Underground – Burrows, Bunkers, and the Marvelous Subterranean World Beneath our Feet. Pegasus, 2017 microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1) (Not as much on small mammals as I would have liked)

Susanne Hakenbeck, Local, regional and ethnic identities in early medieval cemeteries in Bavaria All’Insegna del Giglio, 2011.  microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)

Janine Fries-Knoblach and Heiko Steuer, Eds. The Baiuvarii and Thuringi: An Ethnographic Perspective. Boydell Press, 2014 microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)microscope23 (1)

 

Articles

Lynteris, C. (2017). A ‘Suitable Soil‘: Plague’s Urban Breeding Grounds at the Dawn of the Third Pandemic. Medical History, 61(03), 343–357. http://doi.org/10.1017/mdh.2017.32

Trixl, S., Steidl, B., & Peters, J. (2017). Archaeology and Zooarchaeology of the Late Iron Age-Roman Transition in the Province of Raetia (100 bc–100 ad). European Journal of Archaeology, 63, 1–20. http://doi.org/10.1017/eaa.2016.25

Malek, M. A., Bitam, I., Levasseur, A., Terras, J., Gaudart, J., Azza, S., et al. (2016). Yersinia pestis halotolerance illuminates plague reservoirs. Scientific Reports, 7, 1–10.

O’Sullivan, N. J., Teasdale, M. D., Mattiangeli, V., Maixner, F., Pinhasi, R., Bradley, D. G., & Zink, A. (2016). A whole mitochondria analysis of the Tyrolean Iceman’s leather provides insights into the animal sources of Copper Age clothing. Scientific Reports, 6, 1–9. http://doi.org/10.1038/srep31279

Pini, R., Ravazzi, C., Raiteri, L., Guerreschi, A., Castellano, L., & Comolli, R. (2017). From pristine forests to high-altitude pastures: an ecological approach to prehistoric human impact on vegetation and landscapes in the western Italian Alps. Journal of Ecology, 32, 1659–18. http://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12767

Robb, J. (2009). Towards a critical Otziography: inventing prehistoric bodies. In H. Lambert & M. McDonald (Eds.), Social Bodies (pp. 100–128). New York and Oxford: Social bodies.

Lugli, G. A., Milani, C., Mancabelli, L., Turroni, F., Ferrario, C., Duranti, S., et al. (2017). Ancient bacteria of the Ötzi’s microbiome: a genomic tale from the Copper Age. Microbiome, 5(1), 1–18. http://doi.org/10.1186/s40168-016-0221-y

Hinnebusch, B. J., Bland, D. M., Bosio, C. F., & Jarrett, C. O. (2017). Comparative Ability of Oropsylla montana and Xenopsylla cheopis Fleas to Transmit Yersinia pestis by Two Different Mechanisms. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 11(1), e0005276–15. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0005276

Hamerow, H. (2017). The Circulation of Garnets in the North Sea Zone, ca. 400-700. In A. Hilgner, S. Greiff, & D. Quast (Eds.), GEMSTONES IN THE FIRST MILLENNIUM AD MINES, TRADE, WORKSHOPS AND SYMBOLISM (pp. 71–86).

Hakenbeck, S. S. (2011). Roman or Barbarian? Shifting identities in early medieval cemeteries in Bavaria. Post-Classical Archaeologies, (1), 37–66.

Hakenbeck, S. S., McManus, E., Geisler, H., Grupe, G., & O’Connell, T. (2010). Diet and mobility in Early Medieval Bavaria: a study of carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 143(2), 235–249. http://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.21309

Statskiewicz, A. (2007). The early medieval cemetery at Aschheim-Bajuwarenring: A Merovingian population under the influence of pestilence? In Skeletal series and their socio-economic context (pp. 35–56).

 

 

Medieval Historians Taking Genomics into Account

At the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo (Kzoo) last month, I couldn’t help feeling that we have reached a turning point. I went to four sessions that engaged in genomics, human and/or bacterial, in some way. Granted, these are a tiny proportion of the 500+ sessions offered, but I have learned that if you can string together so many sessions on any topic related to your work, it’s a really good Congress.

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Before and After 1348: Prelude and Consequences of the Black Death session, Kalamazoo, 2017. Pictured: Monica Green and Robert Hymes (Photo: Nukhet Varlik, used with permission)

The tone was set in the very first session when Philip Slavin brought up human epigenetics in his discussion of 14th-century famine. This was followed the next day with three sessions on the Black Death and 14th-century crisis. The two Contagions society sessions went very well. Carenza Lewis talked about her ceramics landscape survey that showed how deep the 14th-century demographic loss actually was. Fabian Crespo introduced the audience to the human immune landscape and how it can be fruitfully approached (including by epigenetics).  I will post on the roundtable on Bruce Campbell’s The Great Transition later this summer. The third plague session, Before and After 1348,  organized by Monica Green focused on Asia and generated a vigorous discussion.   I also attended a fifth session that focused on more traditional biological anthropology, ie. mostly osteology.

This turn hasn’t come all of a sudden. Historians began paying more attention to bacterial genomics a little over a decade ago when plague aDNA first hit the news. Michael McCormick, Lester Little, and Monica Green have all been instrumental in bringing science to the attention of historians. Three edited volumes stand out for putting genomics in front of historians: Lester Little’s Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750 (2007), Linda Clark and Carol Rawcliffe’s Society in the Age of Plague (2013), and Monica Green’s Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death* (2015).

On the other hand, scientists have also edited collections of papers that should make the science more accessible to historians. Didier Raoult and Michel Drancourt have edited two volumes, Paleomicrobiology (2008) and Paleomicrobiology of Humans (2017). Ruifu Yang and Andrey Anisimov edited a more technical volume, Yersinia pestis: Retrospective and Perspective (2016) that should summarize the state of the science  (as of 2016) for more advanced readers in the humanities.

Of the monographs, the historian’s usual primary venue,  books addressing genomics or using genomics as a springboard are limited. With at least three appearing in 2016 by Nükhet Varlik, Ole Benedictow, and Bruce Campbell, this should change soon. At this point, I should mention that genomics is already becoming useful to historians of other diseases, especially leprosy and tuberculosis. Historians are also becoming reinvigorated to provide context for plague and other diseases that may be of interest to geneticists and biological anthropologists. Varlik’s edited collected Plague and Contagion in the Islamic Mediterranean  (2017) is the most recent to provide context for a variety of diseases in an understudied area.


*Green’s volume was first published as a double inaugural issue of the journal The Medieval Globe and then published as a hardback book by ARC Medieval Press.

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 Marcel Keller


From Mild to Murderous: How Yersinia pestis Evolved to Cause Pneumonic Plague by Wyndham Lathem (30 min)


Reconstructing ancient pathogens – discovery of Yersinia pestis in Eurasia 5,000 Years Ago by Simon Rasmussen (15 min)


Plague in the eastern Mediterranean region 1200-1000 BC? by Lars Walloe (15 min)


Placing the Plague of Justinian in the Yersinia pestis phylogenetic context by Jennifer Klunk (15 min)


A demographic history of the plague bacillus revealed through ancient Yersinia pestis genomes by Maria Spyrou (15 min)


Analysis of a High-coverage Yersinia pestis Genome from a 6th Century Justinianic Plague Victim by Michal Feldman (15 min)


Early medieval burials of plague victims: examples from Aschheim and Altenerding (Bavaria, Germany) by Doris Gutsmiedl-Schumann (15 min)


Fleas, rats and other stories – The palaeoecology of the Black Death by Eva Panagiotakopulu (15 min)


Plague in Valencia, 546: A Case Study of the Integration of Texts and Archaeology by Henry Gruber (15 min)


Germany and the Black Death: a zooarchaeological approach by M.A. Paxinos