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Parasite Eggs in Medieval Winchester

  • Alan W. Pike and Martin Biddle

The only previous report of parasite eggs from archaeological excavations in Britain is that of Taylor (1955), but their occurrence in ancient deposits and human remains in other parts of the world has been known since 1910, when Ruffer reported Schistosoma haematobium eggs in the kidneys of two Egyptian mummies. Szidat (1944) found eggs of the roundworms Ascaris and Trichuris and structures resembling eggs of the tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum in the bodies of a girl and a man recovered from a bog in East Prussia. Pizzi and Schenone (1954) recovered eggs of the roundworm Trichuris trichiura and cysts of the protozoan parasite Entamoeba from the frozen body of an Inca child found in a tomb in the Andes. T. trichiura eggs were also observed by Helbaek (1958) in the stomach contents of a corpse recovered from a peat bog in Grauballe, Denmark.

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Bennet-Clark, M. A. 1954. ‘Excavatìon at Middle Brook Street, Winchester, 1953’, Proc, Hants. F.C., XVIII (3), 315.
Biddle, M. 1965a. ‘Excavations at Winchester 1964’, Antìq. J, XLV (2) 243.
Biddle, M. 1965b. ‘Winchester: the Archaeology of a City’, Science Journal, 1 (1), 55.
Butcher, S. 1955. ‘Interim Report on Excavations in St George’s Street, Winchester, 1954’, Proc. Hants. F.C., XIX (1), 1.
Gordon, H. McL, ., and Whitlock, H. V. 1939. ‘A New Technique for Counting Nematode Eggs in Sheep Faeces’, J. Coun. Scient. Ind. Res. Aust., XII (1), 50.
Grzywinski, L. 1955. [‘Parasite eggs in faeces originating from the 11th, 12th and 13th Centuries’], Streszcz. ref. IV Zjazdu. [Summaries of papers of the IVth meeting of the Polish Society of Parasitology, 97 (as quoted in Grzywinski, 1962).]
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Helbaek, H. 1958. [‘The last meal of Grauballe man’], Kuml, 83.
Jansen, J. Jr., and Over, H. J. 1962. ‘Het voorkomen van parasieten in terpmateriaal uit Noordwest Duitsland’, Tijdschr. Diergeneesk., LXXXVII (21), 1377.
Over, H. J. and Jansen, J. Jr., 1962. ‘Het voorkomen van fascioliasis rond het begin van onze jaartell-.
Pizzi, T. and Schenone, H. 1954. ‘Hallazho de huevos de Trichuris trichiura en contenido intestinal de un cuerpo arqueológico incaico’, Boln. Chil. Parasti., IX (3), 73.
Ruffer, M. A. 1910. ‘Note on the presence of Bilharzia haematobia in Egyptian mummies of the twentieth Dynasty (1250–1000 b. c.)’, Brit. Med.J. , 1, 16.
Szidat, L. 1944. ‘Uber die Erhaltungsfähigkeit von Helmintheneiern in Vor-und Frühgeschicht- lichen Moorleichen’, Z. Parasitenkunde, XIII (3), 265.
Taylor, E. L. 1955. ‘Parasitic helminths in Mediaeval Remains’, Vet. Rec . LXVII (12), 216.
Witenberg, G. 1961. [‘Human Parasites in Archaeological Findings’], Bull. Israel Espiar. Soc., XXV, 86.
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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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