JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for ZOOARCH Archives


ZOOARCH Archives

ZOOARCH Archives


ZOOARCH@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

ZOOARCH Home

ZOOARCH Home

ZOOARCH  April 2007

ZOOARCH April 2007

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Re: Rattus Rattus

From:

"Stallibrass, Susan" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Stallibrass, Susan

Date:

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 16:47:51 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (111 lines)

Rats and black death........ Interesting research. I suspect there are two (possibly unconnected) strands to this: 

A: were there enough black rats and did they have sufficient contact with people to spread the disease in the way that it is known to have spread (which begs the question of What Was the disease anyway?)? And

B: have black rats got anything to do with black death?


Quite apart from Mike Baillie's assertions, there are epidemiological grounds for doubting the traditional view of rats + fleas + pathogen = transmission of bubonic plague/black death

Those interested in epidemiology of zoonoses (and this topic relates to transmission of tuberculosis etc between humans and other animals as well, and there is plenty of scope for more research about the consequences of living with domesticated animals, besides the issue of unintentional commensals) may be interested in some of the recent literature eg:

'Biology of Plagues: Evidence from Historical Populations' 
by Susan Scott & C.J. Duncan (Paperback 2005) (hardback 2001) Cambridge University Press and same authors: 'Return of the Black Death' 2004 Liv Univ Press(sounds like a B horror movie!)

The blurb below is taken from Liverpool University's newsletter in 2004

" New research suggests Black Death is lying dormant
Liverpool, UK - 19 May 2004: The Black Death is lying dormant and could re-emerge at any time, according to scientists at the University of Liverpool. 
 
The Black Death appeared in Sicily in 1347, sweeping through Europe and killing nearly half its inhabitants in three years. Over the next three centuries the disease was continually present every year, culminating in the Great Plague of London in 1665, which claimed 6,000 lives per week at its peak.

Throughout the twentieth century, the origin of the Black Death has been attributed to the transmission of bubonic plague from rats to humans via fleas. In a new book being launched this week, entitled Return of the Black Death, Professor Christopher Duncan and Dr Susan Scott from the University's School of Biological Sciences, contest this theory.

Their research involved studying original parish records, wills and diaries to create a profile of the disease, and led to the conclusion that the cause of the Black Death was, in fact, an emergent viral disease that may still lurk somewhere in the world. 

The work includes eyewitness accounts of the devastation experienced by those afflicted as well as their families, accounts of several famous figures who escaped infection such as Henry VIII and William Shakespeare and a study of relationships between historic plagues and modern infectious diseases such as AIDS and vCJD. 

Professor Duncan said: "Although the last known outbreak of plague occurred over three centuries ago, we believe the virus is merely lying in wait, ready to strike again. Globalisation and our increasingly mobile population make rapid transmission of infectious disease unavoidable - as demonstrated in the recent outbreaks of SARS. These factors, combined with the increased threat of bio-terrorism, may allow for the re-emergence of the virus as an even more ruthless killer."   "

Personally, I would concentrate on (A) above, since the introduction, extirpation, establishment, spread etc of black rats is interesting for all sorts of other reasons relating to past human lifestyles, relationships with commensal animals, qualities of living, settlement patterns, population densities, trading networks etc etc as well as climate and vegetation changes. Good luck with collating the archaeological and ethological data.

Sue



Dr Sue Stallibrass

English Heritage Archaeological Science Adviser for North-West England,
Department of Archaeology (SACE),
Hartley Building, Brownlow Street,
University of Liverpool,
LIVERPOOL
L69 3GS

email: [log in to unmask]

direct phone: 0151 794 5046

departmental FAX: 0151 794 5057

-----Original Message-----
From: Analysis of animal remains from archaeological sites [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
Sent: 19 April 2007 09:30
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ZOOARCH] Rattus Rattus

Dear Jessica,
In southern Florida (where I used to live) Rattus rattus was commonly 
named the roof rat owing to its climbing agility and propensity for 
inhabitating the upper storeys of buildings (including my own house!).

Regarding the early references to the different habitations of black 
rats and brown rats (roofs v. sewers) there is a nice quote from a 1768 
rat-catcher about this - mentioned in the book The Brown Rat by Graham 
Twigg 1975 p.23. You should also be aware of Graham Twigg's book The 
Black Death A Biological Reaapraisal published by Batsford in 1984 in 
which he refutes the idea that the black death was bubonic plague!

You might also be interested in my paper published in Antiquity Vol 68 
No. 259 1995 Unwelcome companions:ancient rats reviwed, pp.231-41.

Finally, if you have time, I highly recommend Tales of A Rat-hunting 
Man by Brian Plummer 1978 reptd. 1979. Although essentially describing 
the behaviour of brown rat it does provide an at times highly amusing 
account of the antics of rats.

Good luck with your project.

Regards,
Philip L. Armitage

>----Original Message----
>From: [log in to unmask]
>Date: 18/04/2007 14:17 
>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>Subj: [ZOOARCH] Rattus Rattus
>
>Hi
>
>I am writing a dissertation on Black rat population in Britain and if 
there 
>were large enough numbers to blame the spread of the black death on 
them.
>I was thinking perhaps if Black rats have some habits that would make 
their 
>bones more difficult to find, it may explain their rarity in the 
>archaeological record. Cannabalism, funerals, bone scattering.Any 
>information at all on black rats would be gratefully received
>
>Jessica
>OUDCE
>






___________________________________________________________

Tiscali Broadband only 9.99 a month for your first 3 months! http://www.tiscali.co.uk/products/broadband/

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JISCMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000


WWW.JISCMAIL.AC.UK

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager