Transmission of Zoonotic Diseases in the Daily Life of Ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum (79 CE, Italy): A Review of Animal–Human–Environment Interactions through Biological, Historical and Archaeological Sources
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ZoonosisHuman-animal interactionZooarchaeologyArchaeologyPalaeopathologyPhysical anthropologyHabits and lifestyleStatus of health and diseasePompeii and Herculaneum
Tanga, C.; Remigio, M.; Viciano, J. Transmission of Zoonotic Diseases in the Daily Life of Ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum (79 CE, Italy): A Review of Animal–Human–Environment Interactions through Biological, Historical and Archaeological Sources. Animals 2022, 12, 213. [https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020213]
There is no doubt that the cultural and urban environments contributed to the animal– human interaction in the daily life of the ancient Roman world. The singularity of the circumstances of the burial of Pompeii and Herculaneum, together with literary sources and the extraordinary state of preservation of the archaeological and biological material found, has provided researchers with an opportunity, unique in its kind, to reconstruct the life and ways of living of its inhabitants. This study illustrates the main drivers and mechanisms for the distribution and transmission of zoonotic diseases in these ancient Roman populations, such as (i) the large number and role that different animal species played in the ancient Roman world; (ii) the environmental conditions for the survival of parasites, pathogens and vectors; (iii) the great variety and intensity of commercial activities and occupations that presented certain risks of infections; (iv) the absence of adequate safety controls during processing, distribution and preservation of foodstuffs in unsuitable environments and some culinary habits; (v) the inadequate mechanisms of the disposal of human waste and the biotic contamination of watercourses and reservoirs; and finally (vi) the use of animals related to religious and cultural practices.