International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2023 (Vols. 1-61)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
Journal Impact Factor 0.2
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'Castex D, Bruzek J, Sellier P, Velemínský P, Kucharova H, Bessou M, Sève S, Lourenço J-m, Jun L, Dobisíková M, 2011: Bioarchaeological study of a mortality crisis. Cemetery of St. Benedict in Prague, Czech Republic (17th-18th century AD): methodological approach. Anthropologie (Brno) 49, 1: 79-88'.
The analysis of past epidemic mortality crises is founded upon interdisciplinary problematics which closely associate archaeological, anthropological, and documentary sources. The multiple graves of St. Benedict's Cemetery in Prague (Czech Republic, 17th-18th century AD), evidence of an episode of surmortality, have been identified as resulting from a hypothetical plague epidemic on the basis of historical data, considered reliable by archaeologists. A thorough study of this exceptional, in number and state of conservation, osteological sample was carried out in order to obtain the most precise age estimates possible and thus identify any demographic anomalies, which could help establish the nature of the crisis that affected these individuals. The results produced new elements upon which to reflect. The mortality profile obtained from a substantial sample of individuals from the multiple graves revealed a very selective composition, where young male adults are very clearly over-represented; these observations, very different to those commonly seen in the context of a plague-type epidemic, led to a re-evaluation of the diagnosis initially proposed. After the use of original data (datings, handwritten sources, archaeological materials), a famine, possibly related to an epidemic, is now considered more likely. These new analyses certainly show that besides the demographic impact of a mortality crisis, human behaviour can introduce numerous supplementary biases to the demography of populations victim to an epidemic.
Europe - Modern age - Epidemic - Plague - Mortality profile

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