Parasites have been infecting humans throughout our evolution. When complex societies developed, the greater population density provided new opportunities for parasites to spread. In this interdisciplinary volume, the author brings his expertise in medicine, archaeology and history to explore the contribution of parasites in causing flourishing past civilizations to falter and decline. By using cutting edge methods, Mitchell presents the evidence for parasites that infected the peoples of key ancient civilizations across the world in order to understand their impact upon those populations. This new understanding of the archaeological and historical evidence for intestinal worms, ectoparasites, and protozoa shows how different cultures were burdened by contrasting types of diseases depending upon their geographical location, endemic insects, food preferences and cultural beliefs.
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