Symposium 1. Source combination in paleopathology. Paleopathography at the frontier between history and medicine

Symposium organizer and moderator: Dr. Francesco M. Galassi (University of Zürich)

In the study of past pathological conditions the necessity to combine historical and archival data with hard biological evidence is perceived as vital in order to reconstruct the paleo-phenotypes of diseases. Paleopathography allows indeed a reassessment of paleosymptomatology. This symposium brings together world-known specialists in the field of paleopathology with the aim of showing how a virtual blending of historical and biomedical methodologies can improve our understanding of the past and evolutionary course of diseases by yielding a much more complete overall picture of an often highly fragmented and partial mosaic of knowledge.


Symposium 2. The ecology of climate change and infectious diseases: a gateway between past and present

Symposium organizers and moderators: Dr. Raffaella Bianucci (University of Warwick) and Dr. Dong Hoon Shin (Seoul National University)

Long before the aetiological agents of several infectious pathogens were discovered in the 19th century, humans were aware that climatic factors affect epidemic diseases. Infectious agents – viruses, bacteria, protozoa and multicellular parasites – vary greatly in size, type and mode of transmission, their life cycles being climate-adapted. Therefore, changes in climatic conditions (i.e. temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise) and climate variability may affect human health via indirect pathways, particularly via changes in biological and ecological processes that influence infectious disease transmission and food yields. This symposium is aimed at discussing infectious disease transmission (i.e. plague, malaria, TB, leprosy, helminthic infections, viral infections) both in past and present human populations within an ecological framework.


Symposium 3. Anthropology of violence – soldiers, warriors and everyday life

Symposium organizer and moderator: Dr. Fabio Cavalli (University of Trieste; Accademia Jaufré Rudel di studi medievali)

Interpersonal violence as the resolution of conflicts crosses the whole history of humanity by creating “institutional” figures such as the soldier or, more generally, the warrior authorized to administer the violence. Of course, interpersonal violence is not the prerogative of professionals or present only in periods of social or ethnic conflict or war but permeate all societies as “private” episodes such as murder or personal injury. The symposium wants to focus attention on the paleopathology of the conflict, that is, the violence observed through the filter of the physical injuries and their typology, considered, where possible, not as a phenomenon exclusively “forensic” but inserted into a wider historical and cultural framework.


All symposia will take place at the main conference venue (Hotel Sheraton)