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Articles on Black Death

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Dead men do tell tales through their physical remains. AP Photo/Francesco Bellini

What the archaeological record reveals about epidemics throughout history – and the human response to them

People have lived with infectious disease throughout the millennia, with culture and biology influencing each other. Archaeologists decode the stories told by bones and what accompanies them.
The Black Death inspired medieval writers to document their era of plague. Their anxieties and fears are starkly reminiscent of our own even if their solutions differ. (Shutterstock)

How medieval writers struggled to make sense of the Black Death

During the Black Death of the 1300s, medieval writers struggled to make sense of the disease just as we are now during the COVID-19 pandemic
Past disease outbreaks improved the way we lived. If governments are smart, COVID-19 could do the same. (Shutterstock)

Silver lining: Could COVID-19 lead to a better future?

Historically, pandemics have brought about profound societal improvements. Will that happen this time?
What happened to make plague able to cause devastating epidemics, as in this depiction from 1349? Pierart dou Tielt/Wikimedia

Plague was around for millennia before epidemics took hold – and the way people lived might be what protected them

People caught and died from plague long before it caused major epidemics like the Black Death in the middle ages. Could what scientists call cultural resistance be what kept the disease under control?
It’s the ability of our immune system to remember past infections, and pass this memory on to our kids, that allows us to survive infectious diseases. from www.shutterstock.com

How we’ve evolved to fight the bugs that infect us

With so many microbes capable of hijacking and destroying us, how are we, as a species, still enduring?

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