Archaeological Microbiology

Papers on the microbiology of ancient human remains and old artefacts. Also see Forensic Microbiology and The Microbiome Of Death. Updated July 2016.

Research papers: Human remains

Restricted diversity of dental calculus methanogens over five centuries, France – Hong T. T. Huynh – Scientific Reports – May 2016

List of links to papers and pages on this topic, most of which are also listed here. Web Alert: Microbiology in archaeology. An annotated selection of World Wide Web sites relevant to the topics in environmental microbiology – Lawrence P. Wackett – Environmental Microbiology – April 2016

Complications in the study of ancient tuberculosis: Presence of environmental bacteria in human archaeological remains – Romy Müller – Journal of Archaeological Science – March 2016

The 5300-year-old Helicobacter pylori genome of the Iceman – Frank Maixner – Science – January 2016

Microbiological Analysis of Necrosols Collected from Urban Cemeteries in Poland – Ireneusz Całkosiński – BioMed Research International – July 2015

Historical microbiology, is it relevant in the 21st century? – FEMS Microbiology Letters
Lesley A. Robertson – April 2015

A new era in palaeomicrobiology: prospects for ancient dental calculus as a long-term record of the human oral microbiome – Christina Warinner – Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B – December 2014

Paleomicrobiology: Revealing Fecal Microbiomes of Ancient Indigenous Cultures – Raul J. Cano – PLOS ONE – September 2014

Metagenomic Analysis Reveals Presence of Treponema denticola in a Tissue Biopsy of the Iceman – Frank Maixner – PLOS ONE – Juny 2014

Pathogens and host immunity in the ancient human oral cavity – Christina Warinner – Nature Genetics – February 2014

Book chapter: Archaeology vis-à-vis Microbiology: Discovering the Vistas of Interdisciplinary Research – Pranjal Garg – Frontier Discoveries and Innovations in Interdisciplinary Microbiology

Archeology Meets Clinical Microbiology: Analysis of the Microbial Content of Soil From Archeological Sites in Italy and Belize – Paul M. Southern Jr – Laboratory Medicine – October 2008

Research papers: Non-human remains

Video protocol for ancient ice cores: Removal of Exogenous Materials from the Outer Portion of Frozen Cores to Investigate the Ancient Biological Communities Harbored Inside – Robyn A. Barbato – JOVE

Microbial communities affecting albumen photography heritage: a methodological survey – Puškárová – Scientific Reports – February 2016

Biodeterioration Risk Threatens the 3100 Year Old Staircase of Hallstatt (Austria): Possible Involvement of Halophilic Microorganisms – Guadalupe Piñar – PLOS ONE (OA) – February 2016

AuschwitzMetabolomic and high-throughput sequencing analysis—modern approach for the assessment of biodeterioration of materials from historic buildings – Beata Gutarowska – Frontiers in Microbiology – September 2015

Amid the possible causes of a very famous foxing: molecular and microscopic insight into Leonardo da Vinci’s self-portrait – Guadalupe Piñar – Environmental Microbiology Reports – August 2015

Microbiology of Healing Mud (Fango) from Roman Thermae Aquae Iasae Archaeological Site (Varaždinske Toplice, Croatia) – Janez Mulec – Microbial Ecology September 2014

Viable paleosol microorganisms, paleoclimatic reconstruction, and relative dating in archaeology: a test case from Hell Gap, Wyoming, USA – Brigid S. Grund – Journal of Archaeological Science – June 2014

Chapter 13: Bacterial Degradation of Archaeological Wood in Anoxic Waterlogged Environments  – NB Pedersen – From the book: Stability of Complex Carbohydrate Structures : Biofuels, Foods, Vaccines and Shipwrecks – December 2012

Novel Bacterial Community Associated with 500-Year-Old Unpreserved Archaeological Wood from King Henry VIII’s Tudor Warship the Mary Rose – Joanne Preston – Applied and Environmental Microbiology – September 2012

Microbiology of Concretions, Sediments and Mechanisms Influencing the Preservation of Submerged Archaeological Artifacts – D. Roy Cullimore – International Journal of Historical Archaeology – March 2008

Review papers

Melding the Old with the New: Trends in Methods Used to Identify, Monitor, and Control Microorganisms on Cultural Heritage Materials – Patricia Sanmartín – Microbial Ecology – April 2016

Bacteria and Archaea Paleomicrobiology of the Dental Calculus: a Review – Hong T.T. Huynh – Molecular Oral Microbiology – July 2015

Popular press articles

Scientists Find Hannibal’s Route through Alps – Enrico de Lazaro – Sci-News – April 2016

Hannibal’s famous Alps crossing revealed by ancient animal poop – Grennan Milliken – PopSci – April 2016

Oil-Eating Microbes Threaten Shipwrecks and Ocean Life – Live Science – April 2016

Bacterial bioerosion of bone may help identify stillborn infants from the past – Childhood Bioarchaeology – March 2016

Stairway to heaven – Elisabeth Bik – – February 2016

Iceman’s stomach bug gives clues to humans’ spread into Europe – Grennan Milliken – PopSci – January 2016

What have the Romans ever done for us? – Elisabeth Bik – – January 2016

Microbial communities and biodeterioration of Auschwitz buildings – Elisabeth Bik – – September 2015

Ancient Skeletons Chronicle the Spread of Leprosy – Maddie Stone – Motherboard – May 2015

The Gulf of Mexico Shipwreck Corrosion, Hydrocarbon Exposure, Microbiology, and Archaeology project (GOM-SCHEMA) – 2015

Scientists unlock a ‘microbial Pompeii’ – Heritage Daily – February 2014

Molecular Archaeology puts artifacts in perspective – Day of Archaeology – July 2011

Microbiology Provides Clues to Extinct Caribbean Cultures – Popular Archaeology

Ancient teeth bacteria record disease evolution – – February 2013

Investigating microbes in Tutankhamun’s tomb – Archaeology News Network – June 2011