June 17, 2024


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In the Middle Ages, English monks were surprisingly plagued by parasites.

In the Middle Ages, English monks were surprisingly plagued by parasites.

A study conducted by the prestigious University of Cambridge highlighted the surprising propensity of Augustinians who settled in the British city to suffer from intestinal parasites.

A surprising study led by the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) reveals that Augustinians (religious followers of the orders of St. Augustine) suffered more from intestinal parasites than other people who lived between the 10th and 14th centuries. in Cambridge.

A successful health system in monasteries

Parasites were widespread in medieval Europe. Thus, excavations in the north of the continent have found traces of many specimens, including nematodes, pork tapeworm or large liver fluke. While some infections are caused by faecal contamination of food or drink, others occur after casual consumption of meat or fish. Today, pollution may be favored by a certain lifestyle.

Ordinary clergy living in a community, in this context, represent a very interesting population. “Unlike poorhouses, monasteries were built with toilet blocks and hand-washing facilities“, recall the researchers in this new study published on August 19, 2022.Sanitation in medieval towns in England was based on cesspools. These holes dug into the ground were used for human waste and other household waste, with several examples identified during excavations at Cambridge.“, they add.

The sanitary system of the monasteries was very successful, with a running water system, which even the nobles did not have. An elevated cistern was able to distribute water to the various channels serving the building. However, the Augustinian monastery built at Cambridge did not seem to have such easy access to fresh water, and latrines had not yet been dug.

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Nevertheless, one might expect the Augustinian friars to have been more hygienic than that […]

Read more at sciencesetavenir.fr

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