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A description of the methods used to obtain information on ancient disease and medicine and of how the evidence has survived


This paper summarises the common modalities that are available for researching ancient medicine and disease as well as explaining how some of these sources have survived to modern day. These are explained under the three broad headings of palaeopathology, artefacts, and texts. The descriptions use a variety of examples from ancient societies including in the Bronze Age, Babylonia and Assyria, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome to help explain these modalities. In addition, a review of the advantages and disadvantages of using these tools is included to help current and future historians in stimulating future research in this fascinating area.

  • artefacts
  • history of ancient medicine
  • history of medicine
  • palaeopathology
  • texts

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  • Conflict of interest: nil

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