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Parasitology as an Interpretive Tool in Archaeology

  • Karl J. Reinhard (a1)

Abstract

Parasitological studies of archaeological sites can be used to interpret past behavior and living conditions. During the 1980s problem-oriented research into prehistoric- and historical-period parasitism developed and resulted in the field of archaeoparasitology. Archaeoparasitology attempts to integrate parasite data into archaeological theory and interpretation. Within the last decade, four major archaeoparasitological laboratories emerged. They developed interpretive frameworks that apply parasitological data to a remarkable variety of prehistoric behaviors. Parasite remains can be used to reconstruct aspects of diet, health, and other behaviors such as transhumance and trade. Finally, analysis of the distribution of parasite remains can be used to interpret aspects of site-formation processes.

Resumen

Los estudios parasitológicos de sitios arqueológicos son utilizados para interpretar comportamientos y condiciones de vida en el pasado. El desarrollo de investigaciones orientadas a la problemática del parasitismo prehistórico e histórico durante la década de 1980 tuvo como resultado la creatión de la arqueoparasitología. La arqueoparasitología intenta incorporar datos sobre parásitos a la teoría e interpretación arqueológicos. En la última década han surgido cuatro laboratorios parasitológicos principales. Estos nan desarrollado marcos interpretativos que aplican datos parasitológicos a una notable variedad de comportamientos prehistoricos. Los restos de los parásitos se pueden utilizar para reconstruir aspectos relacionados con la dieta, la salud y otros comportamientos como la transhumancia y el comercio. Por último, el análisis de la distributión de los restos de los parásitos puede ser utilizado para interpretar aspectos de los procesos de formatión de sitios arqueológicos

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References

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