Korean J Parasitol.  2019 Dec;57(6):613-619. 10.3347/kjp.2019.57.6.613.

Paleoparasitology of Merovingian Corpses Buried in Stone Sarcophagi in the Saint-Martin-au-Val Church (Chartres, France)

Affiliations
  • 1University of Bourgogne Franche-Comte, CNRS UMR 6249 Chrono-environment, 16 Route de Gray, 25030 Besancon cedex, France. benjamin.dufour@univ-fcomte.fr
  • 2Direction de l'archéologie, Chartres Métropole, Place des Halles, 28019 Chartres cedex, France.
  • 3CNRS UMR 7041 Archéologies et Sciences de l'Antiquité, Maison Archéologie & Ethnologie, René-Ginouvès, 21 Allée de l'Université, 92000 Nanterre, France.
  • 4CNRS UMR 8546 Archéologie & Philologie d'Orient et d’Occident, École normale supérieure, 45 rue d’Ulm, 75230 Paris cedex 05, France.

Abstract

Paleoparasitological analysis was carried on 4 Merovingian skeletons, dated from the late-5th to the late-9th centuries, and recovered in the church of Saint-Martin-au-Val in Chartres (Center region, France). The corpses were buried in stone sarcophagi, which were still sealed at the time of excavation. Parasite marker extraction was conducted on sediment samples taken from the abdominal and pelvic regions, but also on samples taken from under the head and the feet as control samples. Microscopic observation revealed the presence of 3 gastrointestinal parasites, namely the roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), the whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) and the fish tapeworm (genus Diphyllobothrium). This analysis contributes to a better knowledge of the health status and the lifestyle of ancient medieval populations during the Merovingian period, for which very few paleoparasitological data were available, up until now. It demonstrates the presence of the fish tapeworm for the first time during this period.

Keyword

Paleoparasitology; gastrointestinal parasite; sarcophagi; Merovingian

MeSH Terms

Cadaver*
Cestoda
Foot
Head
Life Style
Parasites
Pelvis
Skeleton
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