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Historical Archaeology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 172–197 | Cite as

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

  • Charles L. Fisher
  • Karl J. Reinhard
  • Matthew Kirk
  • Justin DiVirgilio
Article

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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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles L. Fisher
    • 1
  • Karl J. Reinhard
    • 2
  • Matthew Kirk
    • 3
  • Justin DiVirgilio
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Research and CollectionsNew York State MuseumAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.PathoEcology ServicesLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Hartgen Archaeological Associates, Inc.RensselaerUSA

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