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Privies and Parasites: The Archaeology of Health Conditions in Albany, New York

Charles L. Fisher, Karl J. Reinhard, Matthew Kirk and Justin DiVirgilio
Historical Archaeology
Vol. 41, No. 4 (2007), pp. 172-197
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25617473
Page Count: 26
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Privies and Parasites: The Archaeology of Health Conditions in Albany, New York
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Abstract

Large numbers of parasites were identified in archaeological samples collected from privies and other features in excavations in Albany, New York. This information provides the largest database available for the study of parasite infections in historical period American cities. The greatest numbers of parasites were in contexts related to the expansion of the city in the late-18th century. Parasites remained, but their quantities decreased in the 19th century during another period of rapid population growth. The city was able to control parasite infection during this period through several means, including new techniques of privy construction, new water supply systems, and medical treatments. Use of medical treatments against parasites varied among residents of the city and was evident in the archaeological record.

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