Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version

February 2003


Citation: Bouchet F, Guidon N, Dittmar K, Harter S, Ferreira LF, Miranda SC, Reinhard K, Araújo A (2003) Parasite Remains in Archaeological Sites. Memorias do Instituto do Oswaldo Cruz 98: 47-52.


Organic remains can be found in many different environments. They are the most significant source for paleoparasitological studies as well as for other paleoecological reconstruction. Preserved paleoparasitological remains are found from the driest to the moistest conditions. They help us to understand past and present diseases and therefore contribute to understanding the evolution of present human sociality, biology, and behavior. In this paper, the scope of the surviving evidence will be briefly surveyed, and the great variety of ways it has been preserved in different environments will be discussed. This is done to develop to the most appropriated techniques to recover remaining parasites. Different techniques applied to the study of paleoparasitological remains, preserved in different environments, are presented. The most common materials used to analyze prehistoric human groups are reviewed, and their potential for reconstructing ancient environment and disease are emphasized. This paper also urges increased cooperation among archaeologists, paleontologists, and paleoparasitologists.