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Reconsidering palaeoepidemiological investigations in palaeo-oncology

Siek, Thomas James; (2019) Reconsidering palaeoepidemiological investigations in palaeo-oncology. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Palaeo-oncology refers to the study of cancer and other forms of neoplastic disease in historical and archaeological contexts using bioarchaeological data and methodology. In this line of academic enquiry there is debate regarding the antiquity and prevalence of neoplasms, which has been bolstered by a limited number of palaeoepidemiological studies into neoplastic disease. These investigations into neoplastic prevalence have been infrequent and performed with limited effectiveness. Moreover, these studies remain independent entities of scholarship, differing in their methods and analyses. This thesis will reconsider palaeoepidemiological investigations into neoplastic disease and attempt to bring these lines of enquiry together. This will first be accomplished with a systematic review of bioarchaeological research in palaeo-oncology. The systematic review will be a double-pronged endeavour that will fill a gap in the bioarchaeological literature by examining how palaeopathology has approached neoplastic research and by filtering out and scrutinising past palaeoepidemiological studies. This will then lead to a palaeoepidemiological investigation, conducted in reference to medieval Poland and will be aimed at exemplifying and incorporating a more standardized palaeoepidemiological methodology into palaeo-oncology. The systematic review revealed palaeo-oncological scholarship is dominated by case reports and identified only 10 enquiries into neoplastic prevalence since 1970. These previous palaeoepidemiological studies did not use proper methodology to interpret their results and, as they did not provide enough detail regarding the assemblage’s demographic profile, these studies preclude themselves from any in-depth comparison. The methodology used in the palaeoepidemiological investigation proved effective when comparing neoplastic prevalence in regard to urban versus rural medieval Polish assemblages. These methods will form the basis of proposed protocols for future palaeo-oncological research regarding palaeoepidemiological investigations and offer suggestions for future research venues into neoplastic disease.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Reconsidering palaeoepidemiological investigations in palaeo-oncology
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082520
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