Archaeological Microbiology

Laura S. Weyrich, Vilma Pérez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Archaeological microbiology is an emerging, interdisciplinary area of archaeological science, where information from bacteria, archaea, viruses, parasites, and protozoans provides new insights into the past. This chapter examines how the use of ancient DNA has emerged as a tool with great promise to revolutionize the application of bacteria in archaeology, moving microbial archaeology to a field well beyond the singular study of human diseases. It also examines the previous and emerging technologies that are used to identify and study single ancient microorganisms, as well as complex mixtures of microbes – microbiomes. The chapter discusses the restrictions and limitations of these techniques that need to be considered when studying ancient microorganisms, especially from environmental samples. Although much of microbial archaeological research began in palaeopathological contexts, microbiological applications today are beginning to provide more insights about humans than infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Archaeological Sciences, Volume 1, Second Edition
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781119592112
ISBN (Print)9781119592044
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences

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