The development of paleomicrobiology with new molecular techniques such as metagenomics is revolutionizing our knowledge of microbial evolution in human history. The study of microbial agents that are concomitantly active in the same biological environment makes it possible to obtain a picture of the complex interrelations among the different pathogens and gives us the perspective to understand the microecosystem of ancient times. This research acts as a bridge between disciplines such as archaeology, biology, and medicine, and the development of paleomicrobiology forces archaeology to broaden and update its methods. This chapter addresses the archaeological issues related to the identification of cemeteries from epidemic catastrophes (typology of burials, stratigraphy, topography, paleodemography) and the issues related to the sampling of human remains for biomolecular analysis. Developments in the field of paleomicrobiology are described with the example of the plague. Because of its powerful interdisciplinary features, the paleomicrobiological study of Yersinia pestis is an extremely interesting field, in which paleomicrobiology, historical research, and archeology are closely related, and it has important implications for the current dynamics of epidemiology.

Environmental Microbial Forensics and Archaeology of past pandemics

Antonio Fornaciari
Primo
2017

Abstract

The development of paleomicrobiology with new molecular techniques such as metagenomics is revolutionizing our knowledge of microbial evolution in human history. The study of microbial agents that are concomitantly active in the same biological environment makes it possible to obtain a picture of the complex interrelations among the different pathogens and gives us the perspective to understand the microecosystem of ancient times. This research acts as a bridge between disciplines such as archaeology, biology, and medicine, and the development of paleomicrobiology forces archaeology to broaden and update its methods. This chapter addresses the archaeological issues related to the identification of cemeteries from epidemic catastrophes (typology of burials, stratigraphy, topography, paleodemography) and the issues related to the sampling of human remains for biomolecular analysis. Developments in the field of paleomicrobiology are described with the example of the plague. Because of its powerful interdisciplinary features, the paleomicrobiological study of Yersinia pestis is an extremely interesting field, in which paleomicrobiology, historical research, and archeology are closely related, and it has important implications for the current dynamics of epidemiology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/936804
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