AIA Lecture: “Our Microbial History: How Archaeology Can Contribute to Studies of Modern Health and Disease” (Camilla Speller, UBC)

Our bodies are covered in microbes. These microbial communities (or microbiomes) contribute to our health and wellbeing, but have also been implicated in a variety of diseases and disorders. Recent research has demonstrated that we can recover evidence of ancient microbiomes through the molecular analysis of archaeological dental calculus (mineralized plaque, or tartar) and coprolites (fossilised faeces). This talk will explore how the analyses of dental calculus and coprolites can contribute to our understanding of past diet, environments, and diseases, and provide data which can contribute directly to medical understanding of health today.