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Global History of Health Project

The History of Health in Europe over the last 10.000 years

Prof. Dr. Gisela Grupe

This project creates three large databases, which will allow researchers to reinterpret the history of human health in Europe from the late Palaeolithic era to the early twentieth century. During this period, human health and welfare were transformed enormously by the transition from foraging to farming; the rise of cities and complex forms of social and political organization; European colonization; and industrialization. Specific focus upon pathological conditions over a 10,000 year period of time as evidenced by osteological examination facilitate tracing the etiology and patterns of disease. Because the dynamics of health significantly impact the socio-economic state of a group or society, tracking fluctuations in physical health and identifying the various biological and environmental casual agents impacting the course of early economic growth and development should reveal valuable information requisite to understanding Europe’s past and recent history. The involvement of the Bavarian State Collection for Anthropology and Palaeoanatomy Munich (SAPM) with the project marks an important phase for the future of anthropology in Europe as well as globally. As project coordinators for the European module, the SAPM hopes to spearhead a continuing cooperation between the 17 member countries, guaranteeing future contacts and further projects.

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