Paleomicrobiology provides historians and anthropologists with demonstrative data with which to analyse mass burials and past epidemics and their impact on human populations. These data help to resolve controversies regarding the aetiology of past epidemics such as the Black Death. Continuing progress in analytical techniques may allow further diagnoses of epidemics of as yet unknown aetiology and increased insight into the epidemiology of past infections. Looking backwards topast epidemics using modern tools and concepts will in turn help to understand thecontinuous evolution of microbes and of their direct and indirect relationships withhumans.
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