A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Tracking Disease in Ancient Mesopotamia
Thursday, February 27, 2014
WARSAW, POLAND—How healthy were the people of ancient Mesopotamia? Arkadiusz Soltysiak of the University of Warsaw collected information from all 44 previously published reports on human remains from Mesopotamia, where winters are moist and summers are hot, making ancient bones fragile and poorly preserved. “Despite the few published data, it can be concluded that the communities of Mesopotamia were quite healthy. We can also identify some trends—for example, least diseases visible on the bones were recorded in the early and mid-Bronze Age. Interestingly, this correlates well with written sources of that time—it was a heyday of farming communities,” Soltysiak told Science & Scholarship in Poland. He noted that the dental health of the people suffered as date palms spread and eating habits changed up to the medieval period.
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