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Pandemics Past

Black Death FINAL_5.jpg




(Note: The materials listed here originate with both MHAAM and the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past at Harvard.)










Medieval Academy of America: Speculum Webinar on

"Disease, Death, and Therapy."

Features Prof. Michael McCormick on “Gregory of Tours on

Sixth-Century Plague and Other Epidemics”
































(For full article citations, please refer to the "Research" page.)



A high-coverage yersinia pestis genome from a sixth-century Justinianic Plague victim.” Molecular Biology and Evolution, 33 (2016): 2911-23. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msw170. M. Feldman, M. Harbeck, M. Keller, M.A. Spyrou, A. Rott, B. Trautmann, H.C. Scholz, B. Päffgen, J. Peters, M. McCormick, K. Bos, A. Herbig, J. Krause.


Next generation ice core technology reveals true minimum natural levels of lead (Pb) in the atmosphere: insights from the Black Death.” GeoHealth (AGU), 1 (2019): 211-19. doi: 10.1002/2017GH000064. A.F. More, N.E. Spaulding, P. Bohleber, M.J. Handley, H. Hoffmann, E.V. Korotkikh, A.V. Kurbatov, C.P. Loveluck, S.B. Sneed, M. McCormick, P.A. Mayewski


Indirect evidence for the social impact of the Justinianic Pandemic: episcopal burial and conciliar legislation in Visigothic Hispania.” Journal of Late Antiquity 11 (2018): 193-215. H. Gruber.


Ancient Yersinia pestis genomes from across Western Europe reveal early diversification during the First Pandemic (541–750).” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116 (25) (2019): 12363-72. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820447116.
M. Keller, M.A. Spyrou, C.L. Scheib, G.U. Neumann, A. Kröpelin, B. Haas-Gebhard, B. Päffgen, J. Haberstroh, A. Ribera i Lacomba, C. Raynaud, C. Cessford, R. Durand, P. Stadler, K. Nägele, J.S. Bates, B. Trautmann, S.A. Inskip, J. Peters, J.E. Robb, T. Kivisild, D. Castex, M. McCormick, K.I. Bos, M. Harbeck, A. Herbig, J. Krause.

Plague before the pandemics: the Greek medical evidence for bubonic plague before the sixth century.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 93.2 (2019): 151-79. J. Mulhall.

HOPS: Automated detection and authentication of pathogen DNA in archaeological remains.” Genome Biology 20 (280) (2019). R. Huebler, F.M. Key, C. Warinner, K.I. Bos, J. Krause, A. Herbig.


Emergence of human-adapted Salmonella enterica is linked to the Neolithization process.” Nature Ecology & Evolution 4 (2020): 324–33. F.M. Key, C. Posth , L.R. Esquivel-Gomez, R. Hübler, M.A. Spyrou , G.U. Neumann, A. Furtwängler, S. Sabin , M. Burri, A. Wissgott, A.K. Lankapalli, Å.J. Vågene , M. Meyer, S. Nagel, R. Tukhbatova, A. Khokhlov, A. Chizhevsky, S. Hansen, A.B. Belinsky, A. Kalmykov, A.R. Kantorovich, V.E. Maslov, P.W. Stockhammer , S. Vai , M. Zavattaro, A. Riga , D. Caramelli , R. Skeates, J. Beckett, M.G. Gradoli, N. Steuri, A. Hafner , M. Ramstein, I. Siebke, S. Lösch , Y.S. Erdal, N. Alikhan, Z. Zhou, M. Achtman, K. Bos, S. Reinhold, W. Haak, D. Kühnert , A. Herbig, J. Krause.

"Milan's Medieval Response to the Plague Holds Lessons for Today," Washington Post, April 27, 2020. J. Mulhall. 


"Gregory of Tours on Sixth-Century Plague and Other Epidemics.” Speculum 96:1. M. McCormick.


"The source of the Black Death in fourteenth-century central Eurasia." Nature. Maria A. Spyrou, Lyazzat Musralina, Guido A. Gnecchi Ruscone, Arthur Kocher, Pier-Giorgio Borbone, Valeri I. Khartanovich, Alexandra Buzhilova, Leyla Djansugurova, Kirsten I. Bos, Denise Kühnert, Wolfgang Haak, Philip Slavin & Johannes Krause. 

Climate Change and Health:
How Climate Contributed to the Black Death's Mortality

Prof. Alexander More (Science of the Human Past at Harvard & Climate Change Institute, University of Maine)

Nature Did it! Roman Ecology and the Global History
of Infectious Diseases

Prof. Kyle Harper (University of Oklahoma).

The Genetic History of Plague From the Stone Age
to the 18th Century

Prof. Johannes Krause (Max Planck - Harvard Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean)

Death by Contact:
Ancient Pathogens from Epidemics in Early Mexico

Prof. Johannes Krause (Max Planck - Harvard Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean)

Miniature by Pierart dou Tielt illustrating the Tractatus quartus bu Gilles li Muisit (Tournai, c. 1353).
The people of Tournai bury victims of the Black Death. ms. 13076 - 13077 fol. 24v.

What History Teaches Us About Pandemics: New Evidence from the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past at Harvard and the Max Planck-Harvard Research Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean

Prof. Michael McCormick (Goelet Professor of Medieval History, Chair of the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past and co-director MHAAM)

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