This is an online event.
Sponsored by: Skype a Scientist and the Archaeological Institute of America
THE LEPERS IN THE LAB: HUMAN SKELETONS FROM AN EARLY CHRISTIAN CEMETERY IN THEBES, GREECE with Maria A. Liston
This webinar presents evidence for the late Roman/early Byzantine leprosy epidemic that affected Thebes, and probably a much wider area of Greece. It also will look at individuals who were buried in two mass graves, suggesting that they died in a catastrophic event, such as an epidemic disease. The Justinianic plague, known to be the first wave of bubonic plague to sweep through Europe, was ravaging the Mediterranean world during the centuries this cemetery was in use. We anticipate that DNA analysis will identify the disease that killed the individuals in these mass graves, but we know already that many of them also were suffering from leprosy when they died.
Maria Liston received a BA and MA in Classics a BA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee. She is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Waterloo, ON, and a 2020-2021 Honorary Research Associate in the Malcom H. Wiener Laboratory of Archaeological Sciences at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. She is a skeletal biologist and archaeologist, focusing on the excavation and analysis of human remains and their mortuary contexts. She co-authored The Agora Bone Well (2018), a study of a well containing 449 infant and fetal skeletons, probably deposited by midwives working in Hellenistic Athens. She is currently documenting skeletons from an early Christian cemetery found in in the Sanctuary of Apollo in Thebes. This cemetery was associated with an early hospice or hospital; many of the individuals buried there suffered from leprosy, and two mass graves suggest there were victims of the Plague of Justinian, and she will be talking about this project in the webinar.
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