Since 2018 our research team has invested much effort and resources into the study of rare diseases from archaeological contexts.

Rare diseases are those disorders affecting only a small part of the population (1/2000 people in Europe), but more than 5000 different rare diseases have been documented to date, their number increases every day and, only in Europe, more than 30 million people are affected by them.

The history of ancient rare diseases is still largely unexplored, as very little evidence has been recovered, understood or published. Our research, global and multi-disciplinary, aims to collect, discuss and integrate archaeological case studies in a broader overview and, at the same time, to raise social awareness about rare diseases.

A better knowledge of their past is a first crucial step for patients today to re-discover their history, build their identity, make group and be heard.

Publications

  • Gresky, J., Petiti, E. (Eds.) 2021. Ancient Rare Diseases: Definition and concept of rare diseases in Paleopathology, International Journal of Paleopathology. Read it here.
  • Maixner, F., Gresky, J., Zink, A. (2021). Ancient DNA analysis of rare genetic bone disorders, International Journal of Paleopathology, 33, 182-187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2021.04.009. Read it here.
  • Gresky, J., Dorn, J., Tessmann, B., Petiti, E. (2021). How rare is rare? A literature survey of the last 45 years of paleopathological research on ancient rare diseases (ARD). In: Gresky, J., Petiti, E. (Eds.) Ancient Rare Diseases: Definition and concept of rare diseases in Paleopathology. International Journal of Paleopathology, 33, 94-102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2021.03.003. Read it here.
  • Gresky, J., DellĂş, E., Radina, F., Favia, M., Ferorelli, D., Scardapane, A., Petiti, E. (2021). A critical review of the anthropological and paleopathological literature on Osteopetrosis as an ancient rare disease (ARD). In: J. Gresky, E. Petiti (Eds.) Ancient Rare Diseases: Definition and concept of rare diseases in Paleopathology, International Journal of Paleopathology, 33, 280-288.
  • Schultz, M., Weber, M., Schmidt-Schulz, T., Dorn, J., Zink, A., Nerlich, A. (2021). A possible case of Langerhans-cell histiocytosis? Differential diagnosis in a rare case from the Late Antiquity of Bavaria (Germany). International Journal of Paleopathology, 33, 270-279. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2021.05.005. Read it here.
  • Fuchs, K., Atabiev, B., Witzmann, F., Gresky, J. (2021). Towards a definition of Ancient Rare Diseases (ARD): Presenting a complex case of probable Legg-CalvĂ©-Perthes Disease from the North Caucasian Bronze Age (2200-1650 BCE). International Journal of Paleopathology, 32, 61-73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2020.11.004. Read it here. Watch the Video. More details.
  • Gresky, J., Sokiranski, R., Witzmann, F., Petiti, E. (2020). The oldest case of osteopetrosis in a human skeleton: exploring the history of rare diseases. The Lancet DE 8 (10), 806 – 808. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30307-7. Read it here

Outreach

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