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Filthy habits: medieval monks were more likely to have worms than ordinary people

By Piers Mitchell, Senior Research Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge
Tianyi Wang, University of Cambridge
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In the middle ages, monks, nuns, and friars had it relatively easy. They lived quiet lives within friaries and monastic complexes, reading manuscripts, praying, and tending to gardens in which they grew their own food. They even enjoyed access to toilet facilities, while many of the peasantry at the time lacked even the most basic sanitation.

You’d therefore expect medieval friars to be less exposed to parasites spread by faecal contamination than the townsfolk who lived around them. But our study, conducted on…The Conversation


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