The maintenance of human health and the mechanisms by which this is achieved – through medicine, medical intervention and care-giving – are fundamentals of human societies. However, archaeological investigations of medicine and care have tended to examine the obvious and explicit manifestations of medical treatment as discrete practices that take place within specific settings, rather than as broader indicators of medical worldviews and health beliefs. This volume highlights the importance of medical worldviews as a means of understanding healthcare and medical practice in the past.
The volume brings together ten chapters, with themes ranging from a bioarchaeology of Neanderthal healthcare, to Roman air quality, decontamination strategies at Australian quarantine centres, to local resistance to colonial medical structures in South America. Within their chapters the contributors argue for greater integration between archaeology and both the medical and environmental humanities, while the Introduction presents suggestions for future engagement with emerging discourse in community and public health, environmental and planetary health, genetic and epigenetic medicine, 'exposome' studies and ecological public health, microbiome studies and historical disability studies.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of World Archaeology.
Introduction – New directions in the archaeology of medicine: deep-time approaches to human-animal-environmental care
Julia Shaw and Naomi Sykes
1. Calculated or caring? Neanderthal healthcare in social context
Penny Spikins, Andy Needham, Lorna Tilley and Gail Hitchens
2. Identifying the connection between Roman conceptions of ‘Pure Air’ and physical and mental health in Pompeian gardens (c.150 BC–AD 79): a multi-sensory approach to ancient medicine
3. From mine to apothecary: an archaeo-biomedical approach to the study of the Greco-Roman lithotherapeutics industry
4. Medical therapeutics and the place of healing in early medieval Culmen in Poland
Magdalena Domicela Matczak and Wojciech Chudziak
5. Health beliefs, healing practices and medico-ritual frameworks in the Ecuadorian Andes: the continuity of an ancient tradition
Elizabeth Currie, John Schofield, Fernando Ortega Perez and Diego Quiroga
6. Medicine in colonial Moquegua, Peru: plants, wine and Belén de Locumbilla
Prudence M. Rice
7. Enslavement and institutionalized care: the politics of health in nineteenth-century St Croix, Danish West Indies
8. Contagious objects: artefacts of disease transmission and control at North Head Quarantine Station, Australia
9. Vision and ocular health at a World War II internment camp
Stacey Lynn Camp