Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Publication: Parasitism, cesspits and sanitation in East Asian countries prior to modernization

Our paper (Seo M and Shin DH) "Parasitism, cesspits and sanitation in East Asian countries prior to modernization" is published in a book titled "Sanitation, Latrines and Intestinal Parasites in Past Populations" (Edited by Piers D. Mitchell, University of Cambridge, UK).

As a research tool for tracing sanitary practices and conditions in the past, archaeoparasitological study has a long history. Even though the studies have explored common questions on the biogeography and endemicity of parasite infections that have a relevance to public health,  each continent and country has developed independent academic traditions. Among these, we have summarized the history of archaeoparasitological studies on sanitation and parasitism in East Asian contexts. Even if archaeoparasitology in East Asian countries remains in its relative infancy, the findings so far represent a great start in efforts to answer questions as to how the pre-modern peoples in the region derived community-managed sanitation schemes to live better and healthier lives in such densely populated towns and cities. 

Despite the encouraging achievements of East Asian archaeoparasitologists, we should note that most previous reports have concentrated on agrarian societies in Korea, Japan and China. Therefore, to acquire broader knowledge for archaeoparasitology regarding this area in the past, new studies should be extended to the nomadic and hunter-gatherer peoples in other sub-regions of the area. For example, studies of archaeological samples from North Asia (e.g. Siberia) might demonstrate differences in parasitological infection patterns compared with East Asian (agrarian) counterparts, thereby enriching our knowledge of sanitation and parasitism in human society as a whole. While there is clearly a long way to go, archaeoparasitology in East Asia is a quickly developing science nowadays, promising a bright future for research in each country. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Oral Presentation: Annual Meeting for Korean Association of Anatomists

64th Annual Meeting: Korean Association of Anatomists:

Stable isotope analysis of Joseon people skeletons from the cemeteries of old Seoul city, the capital of Joseon dynasty

유정아, 오창석, 홍종하, 민소리, 오승환, 김이석, 신동훈

1 Department of Anatomy, Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea
2 Department of Anatomy, Ehwa Womans University School of Medicine, South Korea
3 Hangang Institute of Cultural Heritage, 26 Gingorang-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-904, South Korea

Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis reflect the diets of different human populations in history. In this study, we performed stable isotope analysis on the human skeletons from Joseon period cemeteries discovered around Old Seoul City. Our data clearly showed that Joseon peoples consumed more C3-based foods as main staple than C4-based foods; and they should have ingested proteins mainly of terrestrial origin than of marine origin. In our study, the values of stable isotope exhibited unique patterns in each subgroup. While δ13C value did not show any statistical differences between subgroups, significantly higher values of δ15N were found in males than in females, which might be caused by the dietary differences in each sex group. More studies should be done in the future, on the Joseon samples from archaeological sites of this country, to comprehend the dietary pattern of Korean people’s ancestors before industrialization in 20th century.
Key words: Stable isotope analysis, human bones, nitrogen, carbon, Joseon Dynasty, South Korea
Corresponding Author:
Department of Anatomy, Seoul National University College of Medicine
Dong Hoon Shin, MD., PhD.
Tel: 82-2-740-8203 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Poster Presentation at Indian Archaeological Society, Pune, INDIA

We will present our study "Ancient DNA Analysis of Animal Bones: Studies on Cases from Indian and Korean Archaeological Sites" at the Annual Conference of Indian Archaeological Society.

Deccan College (India) and Institute of Forensic Science, Seoul National University (South Korea) plan to make collaboration on bioarchaeological researches in both countries. In such an effort, researchers in both institute tried to study on the biological samples from Rakhigarhi site, one of the largest metropolitan cites of ancient Harappan civilization. Using the animal bones collected from the site, an attempt was made to extract ancient DNA by a modified phenol- chloroform method. For analysis of aDNA from the cattle bones of Rakhigarhi site, we tried to develop a multiplex amplification system of Bos taurus mtDNA genome from much recent Joseon period cattle bone samples. Our study would be done using next generation sequencing technique; and bioinformatics analysis will be performed on the data. Ours will be an invaluable stepping stone for future studies on the genetic diversity and structure of Bos taurus and Bos indicus of Asian continent

Hong with a poster

Photo of the Meeting... at Pune

Photos of Korean Mummies Displayed in MÚMIA VILÁG, Hungarian Natural History Museum

The information on Korean mummies has been displayed in Mummy Exhibition by Hungarian Natural History Museum.