Archaeologists have found that English monks were infected with worms twice as often as lay people

(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that 58% of the Augustinian monks buried in Cambridge suffered from parasitic intestinal worms, while only 32% of ordinary people were found to have worms. The article was published in the International Journal of Paleopathology.

Cambridge archaeologists examined soil samples taken near the pelvic bones of the remains of adult citizens in the former city cemetery, as well as in the cemetery, where the Augustinian monastery once stood.

Most of the parish church burials date from the 12th to 14th centuries, and those buried in them were mostly agricultural workers.

In total, 19 monks from the territory of the monastery and 25 local residents were studied. 11 monks (58%) were infected with parasitic worms, ascaris and whipworm, but only eight (32%) among ordinary citizens.

Given that monks tended to have more comfortable living conditions than lay people, the researchers expected that they would have lower levels of intestinal worm infection.

The prevalence of parasites among 32% of city dwellers is consistent with studies of medieval burials in other European countries.

But the level of infection in the monastery was surprisingly high. In addition, the actual number of infections could be higher if some traces of worm eggs in the pelvic deposits were destroyed by fungi and insects.

Researchers from the Department of Archeology at the University of Cambridge say the difference in parasite infestations may be due to monks fertilizing crops in the garden with their own feces or buying fertilizer containing human or pig feces.

In medieval cities, most of the toilets were: holes in the ground, used to dump feces and household waste. However, running water systems were common in monasteries, including for rinsing the toilet.

Most of the Augustinian monasteries of that period had latrines and facilities for washing hands. However, this has yet to be confirmed in the Cambridge Priory, which has only been partially excavated.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that 58% of the Augustinian monks buried in Cambridge suffered from parasitic intestinal worms, while only 32% of ordinary people were found to have worms. The article was published in the International Journal of Paleopathology.

Cambridge archaeologists examined soil samples taken near the pelvic bones of the remains of adult citizens in the former city cemetery, as well as in the cemetery, where the Augustinian monastery once stood.

Most of the parish church burials date from the 12th to 14th centuries, and those buried in them were mostly agricultural workers.

In total, 19 monks from the territory of the monastery and 25 local residents were studied. 11 monks (58%) were infected with parasitic worms, ascaris and whipworm, but only eight (32%) among ordinary citizens.

Given that monks tended to have more comfortable living conditions than lay people, the researchers expected that they would have lower levels of intestinal worm infection.

The prevalence of parasites among 32% of city dwellers is consistent with studies of medieval burials in other European countries.

But the level of infection in the monastery was surprisingly high. In addition, the actual number of infections could be higher if some traces of worm eggs in the pelvic deposits were destroyed by fungi and insects.

Researchers from the Department of Archeology at the University of Cambridge say the difference in parasite infestations may be due to monks fertilizing crops in the garden with their own feces or buying fertilizer containing human or pig feces.

In medieval cities, most of the toilets were: holes in the ground, used to dump feces and household waste. However, running water systems were common in monasteries, including for rinsing the toilet.

Most of the Augustinian monasteries of that period had latrines and facilities for washing hands. However, this has yet to be confirmed in the Cambridge Priory, which has only been partially excavated.

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