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Characterization of the Funeral Groups Associated with Plague Epidemics

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  • Authors: Stefan Tzortzis1, Michel Signoli2
  • Editors: Michel Drancourt, Didier Raoult3
  • VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: UMR 7268 ADES, Anthropologie bio-culturelle, Droit, Ethique, Santé - AMU/CNRS/EFS, Marseille, France; 2: UMR 7268 ADES, Anthropologie bio-culturelle, Droit, Ethique, Santé - AMU/CNRS/EFS, Marseille, France; 3: Aix Marseille Université Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France
  • Source: microbiolspec July 2016 vol. 4 no. 4 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0011-2015
  • Received 30 March 2015 Accepted 09 April 2015 Published 22 July 2016
  • Michel Signoli, msignoli@hotmail.com
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  • Abstract:

    There are several scenarios regarding how burial sites in archaeological contexts are discovered. We will focus on two scenarios according to the degree of historical knowledge regarding the studied sector. The excavation may be performed in a known funeral place or a highly suspected place (e.g., the interior or immediate exterior space in a religious monument or a parish cemetery). Also, the excavation of unexpected graves or graves discovered by chance may occur in places that had unknown or forgotten funeral purposes.

  • Citation: Tzortzis S, Signoli M. 2016. Characterization of the Funeral Groups Associated with Plague Epidemics. Microbiol Spectrum 4(4):PoH-0011-2015. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0011-2015.

Key Concept Ranking

Yersinia pestis
0.6666667
Wheat
0.4731973
Smallpox
0.4731973
0.6666667

References

1. Signoli M. 2006. Étude anthropologique de crises démographiques en contexte épidémique. Aspects paléo- et biodémographiques de la peste en Provence. BAR International Series 1515, Oxford, UK.
2. Paone F, Mellinand P, Parent F. 2009. Esplanade Major, p 138–139. Bilan Scientifique Régional PACA 2008, Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles, Service Régional de l’Archéologie, Marseille, France.
3. Tzortzis S. 2009. Archives biologiques et archives historiques. Une approche anthropologique de l’épidémie de peste de 1720-1721 à Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône, France). Thèse de doctorat d’anthropologie biologique. Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France.
4. Tzortzis S, Signoli M. 2009. Les tranchées des Capucins de Ferrières (Martigues, Bouches-du-Rhône, France). Un charnier de l’épidémie de peste de 1720-1722 en Provence. C R Palevol 8:749–760. [CrossRef]
5. Bizot B, Castex D, Reynaud P, Signoli M. 2005. La saison d’une peste (avril-septembre 1590). Le cimetière des Fédons à Lambesc (Bouches-du-Rhône). CNRS Éditions, Paris, France.
6. Signoli M, Tzortzis S, Bizot B, Ardagna Y, Rigeade C, Seguy I. 2007. Discovery of a 17th century plague cemetery (Puy-Saint-Pierre, Hautes-Alpes, France), p 115–119. In Signoli M, Cheve D, Adalian P, Boëtsch G, Dutour O (ed), La peste: entre épidémies et sociétés. Actes du colloque ICEPID 4, 23-26 juillet 2001, Marseille. Firenze University Press, Florence, Italy.
7. Accoto J, Bello S, Bouttevin C, Castex D, Duday H, Dutour O, Moreau N, Pannuel M, Reynaud P, Signoli M. 2005. Des données archéologiques et anthropologiques aux interprétations. p 37–62. In Bizot B, Castex D, Reynaud P, Signoli M (ed), La saison d’une peste (avril-septembre 1590). Le cimetière des Fédons à Lambesc (Bouches-du-Rhône). CNRS Éditions, Paris, France.
8. Drancourt M, Aboudharam G, Signoli M, Dutour O, Raoult D. 1998. Detection of 400-year-old Yersinia pestis DNA in human dental pulp: an approach to the diagnosis of ancient septicemia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 95:12637–12640. [PubMed][CrossRef]
9. Bianucci R, Rahalison L, Rabino Massa E, Peluso A, Ferroglio E, Signoli M. 2008. Technical note: a rapid diagnostic test detects plague in ancient human remains: an example of the interaction between archeological and biological approaches (Southeastern France, 16th-18th centuries). Am J Phys Anthropol 136:361–367. [PubMed][CrossRef]
10. Signoli M, Gambaro L, Rigeade C, Drusini A. 2009. Les fouilles du Lazzareto Vecchio (Venise, Italie), p 333–346. In Buchet L, Rigeade C, Séguy I, Signoli M (ed), Vers une anthropologie des catastrophes, Actes des 9e journées d’anthropologie de Valbonne. Éditions INED/APDCA, Paris, France.
11. Séguy I, Pennec S, Tzortzis S, Signoli M. 2006. Modélisation de l’impact de la peste à travers l’exemple de Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône), p 323–331 In Buchet L, Dauphin C, Seguy I (ed), La paléodémographie. Mémoire d’os, mémoire d’hommes. Actes des 8e journées anthropologiques de Valbonne. APDCA, Antibes, France.
12. Séguy I, Signoli M, Tzortzis S. 2007. Caractérisation des crises démographiques en basse Provence (1650-1725), p 197–204. In Signoli M, Cheve D, Adalian P, Boetsch G, Dutour O (ed), Peste: entre épidémies et sociétés. Actes du colloque international ICEPID 4, Marseille, 23-26 juillet 2001. Firenze University Press, Florence, Italy.
13. Biraben JN. 1975. Les hommes et la peste en France et dans les pays européens et méditerranéens. EHESS, Centre de Recherches Historiques, Mouton, Paris, France.
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/content/journal/microbiolspec/10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0011-2015
2016-07-22
2017-03-25

Abstract:

There are several scenarios regarding how burial sites in archaeological contexts are discovered. We will focus on two scenarios according to the degree of historical knowledge regarding the studied sector. The excavation may be performed in a known funeral place or a highly suspected place (e.g., the interior or immediate exterior space in a religious monument or a parish cemetery). Also, the excavation of unexpected graves or graves discovered by chance may occur in places that had unknown or forgotten funeral purposes.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1

Grave in the “Major” cathedral in Marseille: the view southward (copyright INRAP).

Source: microbiolspec July 2016 vol. 4 no. 4 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0011-2015
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Image of FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2

General overview of the cemetery in Lariey—distribution of graves (drafted by B. B. Bizot and M. Olive; computer-aided design by B. B. Bizot).

Source: microbiolspec July 2016 vol. 4 no. 4 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0011-2015
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Image of FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3

Detailed view of a burial site during the excavation of Lazzaretto Vecchio at the Venice site (copyright Michel Signoli).

Source: microbiolspec July 2016 vol. 4 no. 4 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0011-2015
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Image of FIGURE 4
FIGURE 4

Distributions by age group (gender mixed) of the adult population before (November of 1720) and following (June of 1721) the plague episode. A nonparametric test (Mann-Whitney U test) revealed that there were no significant differences at the threshold of 0.01 between the two distributions.

Source: microbiolspec July 2016 vol. 4 no. 4 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0011-2015
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Image of FIGURE 5
FIGURE 5

(Top) Proportional distributions of the living adult population by age group before the epidemic (November of 1720) and for the archaeological sample. The two series did not differ from each other at the threshold of 0.01. (Bottom) Proportional distributions of the living adult population by age group following the epidemic (June of 1721) and for the archaeological sample. The two series did not differ significantly from each other at the threshold of 0.01 (nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test).

Source: microbiolspec July 2016 vol. 4 no. 4 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0011-2015
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Image of FIGURE 6
FIGURE 6

Comparative analysis of the resulting percentages (%) of demographic reduction for each ten-year age group due to the smallpox epidemic of 1705, the wheat production crisis during Great Frost in 1709-1710, and the plague epidemic of 1720-1721 in Martigues.

Source: microbiolspec July 2016 vol. 4 no. 4 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0011-2015
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