Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Historical Archaeology, 1994


One focus of historical archaeology at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia, is tracing the development of sanitation at the town through the 1800s and 1900s. Historical documentation indicates that there was a degree of resistance to the modernization of village sanitation. This study attempts to verify this resistance through examination of privy soils for parasites indicative of fecalborne disease, specifically the helminth species Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura. The presence of these parasites in the early 1900s would indicate that fecal-borne disease due to poor sanitation continued to be an aspect of town life. The analysis revealed the eggs of both species in all three privies, indicating that resistance to modem sanitation resulted in the maintenance of fecal-borne disease.