Pathogens Detected in Bronze Age Remains in Greece

images4 reports that a study of genetic material recovered from the teeth of people buried in the Hagios Charalambos cave on the Greek island of Crete between about 2290 and 1909 B.C. detected the presence of extinct strains of two pathogens.

Hagios Charalambos 001

The Hagios Charalambos Cave is located on the western side of the Lasithi Plain in a bedrock outcrop (entrance 834.95 m above sea level) to the northeast of the village of the same name (Hagios Charalambos).
An arrow marks the location of the cave next to the village of Hagios Charalambos (Betancourt 2014, pl. 1A).

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the British School at Athens, and Temple University suggest that epidemics brought about by Y. pestis, which causes plague, and S. enterica, which causes typhoid fever, could have contributed to the collapse of Egypt’s the Old Kingdom and the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia.

It had been previously suggested that climate change may have triggered these Bronze Age population declines