A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Pathogens Detected in Bronze Age Remains in Greece
Friday, August 12, 2022
JENA, GERMANY—Phys.org reports that a study of genetic material recovered from the teeth of people buried in the Hagios Charalambos cave on the Greek island of Crete between about 2290 and 1909 B.C. detected the presence of extinct strains of two pathogens. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the British School at Athens, and Temple University suggest that epidemics brought about by Y. pestis, which causes plague, and S. enterica, which causes typhoid fever, could have contributed to the collapse of Egypt’s Old Kingdom and the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia. It had been previously suggested that climate change may have triggered these Bronze Age population declines. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Current Biology. To read about DNA sequencing of Y. pestis recovered from two skeletons in southwestern Russia, go to "Bronze Age Plague," one of ARCHAEOLOGY's Top 10 Discoveries of 2018.
Snacking in the Colosseum, Japanese tomb statue, Attila the Hun’s motives, 300,000-year-old fur coats, and Egyptian crocodiles in the afterlife
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