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Intestinal parasite infection and sanitation in medieval Leiden, the Low Countries

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

Change log

Authors

Meijer, Yolande 

Abstract

jats:pIn the absence of written records, disease and parasite loads are often used as indicators of sanitation in past populations. Here, the authors adopt the novel approach of integrating the bioarchaeological analysis of cesspits in an area of medieval Leiden (the Netherlands) with historical property records to explore living conditions. Using light microscopy and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) they identify evidence of parasites associated with ineffective sanitation (whipworm, roundworm and the protozoan jats:italicGiardia duodenalis</jats:italic>)—at residences of all social levels—and the consumption of infected livestock and freshwater fish (Diphyllobothriidae, cf. jats:italicEchinostoma</jats:italic> sp., cf. jats:italicFasciola hepatica</jats:italic> and jats:italicDicrocoelium</jats:italic> sp.).</jats:p>

Description

Keywords

4301 Archaeology, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, Infectious Diseases, Rare Diseases, Digestive Diseases, 2.2 Factors relating to the physical environment, 2 Aetiology, Infection, 6 Clean Water and Sanitation

Journal Title

Antiquity

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0003-598X
1745-1744

Volume Title

Publisher

Antiquity Publications
Sponsorship
SR would like to acknowledge the following funding bodies: the H.M. Chadwick Fund Studentship (University of Cambridge, UK), the Mary P. Dole Medical Fellowship (Mount Holyoke College, USA) and The Louise Fitz-Randolph Fellowship (Mount Holyoke College, USA).