Roundtable on Campbell’s Climate, Disease, and Society in the Late Medieval World

by Michelle Ziegler Bruce Campbell. The Great Transition: Climate, Disease, and Society in the Late Medieval World. Cambridge University Press, 2016. When I first learned that Bruce Campbell was working on this book, I wondered if it would be the first grand synthesis of the new paradigm. Although there have been some very good regional... 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 →

Dogs as Plague Sentinels and Vectors

I've been a little obsessed with thinking about dogs and the plague lately. Dogs are often overlooked in historic plague discussions because they usually survive plague and dog-specific fleas are not associated with transmitting plague. Yet, dogs can host many of the fleas common among rodents and others that do transmit the plague including the... Continue Reading →

Keeping Bronze Age Yersinia pestis in Perspective

by Michelle Ziegler The latest plague news to splash across headlines is the discovery of Yersinia pestis aDNA in seven Bronze Age remains from Eurasia.  The most important findings in this new study are not anthropological; they are evolutionary. This paper allows us to drop a couple more evolutionary mile markers. Finding  7% of the... Continue Reading →

Changing the Plague-Flea Transmission Paradigm

The old paradigm is dead! Long live the new paradigm! Rebecca Eisen, David Dennis, and Kenneth Gage just published an article gathering all the evidence that should put an end to the blocked flea model as the only significant method of plague transmission.  They summarize the data proving that unblocked fleas can and do transmit... Continue Reading →

Yersinia pestis found in human fleas, Madagascar 2013

Madagascar is consistently one of the top two countries in Africa (and usually the world) in cases of plague, caused by Yersinia pestis. For five years prior to January 2013, Madagascar registered 312 to 648 cases per year, with a majority being laboratory confirmed of which >80% were bubonic plague. Of the multiple reservoir species in... Continue Reading →

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