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Influence de l’état sanitaire des populations anciennes sur la mortalité en temps de peste : contribution à la paléoépidémiologie

Abstract : From the 6th century onwards, plague caused recurring mortality crises in the Western world. Such epidemics hadprofound biological, cultural, economic and political impacts on European societies. Some aspects of the history ofplague epidemics are currently well known, but many questions remain unanswered, such as the preciseepidemiological pattern of the disease in ancient times. It is unclear whether plague killed people indiscriminately orwhether this disease was selective with respect to age, sex and health. This research contributes to this debate.It consists of an anthropological and paleopathological study of skeletal remains of 1090 individuals, including plaguevictims from four medieval and post-medieval burial grounds, and individuals from two parochial cemeteries in useduring periods of normal mortality. Results from the four plague-related assemblages reveal a peculiar demographicsignature. Age and sex distribution differs clearly from what is expected in non-epidemic periods, when it is shown tocorrespond closely to the demographic structure of the living population. Moreover, the study of various non-specificskeletal stress markers shows that plague victims were in a better health before they passed away than people who diedin non-epidemic periods. The results demonstrate that individuals who suffered stress and disease had a reducedchance of survival in non-epidemic periods, whereas they were not at a higher risk to die during plague epidemics.This study provides evidence that plague was not selective, and that it killed regardless of sex, age, and pre-existing health.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 3:28:08 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - 10:50:03 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-01370446, version 1



Sacha Kacki. Influence de l’état sanitaire des populations anciennes sur la mortalité en temps de peste : contribution à la paléoépidémiologie. Anthropologie biologique. Université de Bordeaux, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016BORD0058⟩. ⟨tel-01370446⟩



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