1) Affiliated Lecturer in Biological Anthropology
2) Hospital Consultant (specialist) in NHS
Research interest: parasite infestation of humans throughout our evolution.
Piers Mitchell is interested in taking PhD students.
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
The Henry Wellcome Building
Cambridge CB2 1QH
Piers is qualified in medicine, in biological anthropology and medical history.
- He has taught as a lecturer at Imperial College London and the University of Sydney before moving to Cambridge in 2009.
- He runs a course on Human Evolution and Health in the Division of Biological Anthropology.
- Piers is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Paleopathology, the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, PostMedieval: a Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies, and the book series Studies in Early Medicine, published by Archaeopress, Oxford.
Departments and Institutes
- Biological Anthropology:
- Affiliated Lecturer
1) Ancient Parasites and Dysentery
- Piers' research interest is to identify when and how parasites and dysentery came to cause disease in humans, how we spread these parasites around the planet, and what impact these diseases had upon human evolution and civilizations in the past.
- To this end he undertakes laboratory research in the Division of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Techniques employed are predominantly light microscopy and and ELISA. Samples analysed are from archaeological excavations around the world, including latrines, cesspools, coprolites and the sediment from the pelvic area of human skeletal remains from past populations.
- Piers also studies infectious disease from the lesions in human skeletal remains - e.g. treponemal disease (syphilis), tuberculosis, leprosy.
Books on Infectious Disease:
Mitchell, P.D. and Le Bailly, M. Parasites in Past Civilisations and their Impact Upon Health. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge - book contract - manuscript for submission 2013, publication 2014.
Mitchell, P.D. (ed) Sanitation, Latrines and Intestinal Parasites in Past Populations. Studies in Early Medicine Series. Ashgate: Aldershot. Articles submitted, publication due 2013.
Selected Articles on Infectious Disease:
Anastasiou, E., Mitchell, P.D. (2013) Human intestinal parasites from a latrine in the 12th century Frankish castle of Saranda Kolones in Cyprus. International Journal of Paleopathology doi: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2013.04.003.
Anastasiou, E. Mitchell, P.D. (2013) Simplifying the process for extracting parasitic worm eggs from cesspool and latrine sediments: a trial comparing the efficacy of widely used techniques for disaggregation. International Journal of Paleopathology doi: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2013.04.004.
Mitchell, P.D., Anastasiou, E., Syon, D. (2011) Human intestinal parasites in crusader Acre: evidence for migration with disease in the Medieval Period. International Journal of Paleopathology 1: 132-37.
Mitchell, P.D. (2011) Retrospective diagnosis, and the use of historical texts for investigating disease in the past. International Journal of Paleopathology 1: 81-88.
Mitchell, P.D. The spread of disease with the crusades. In: Between Text and Patient: The Medical Enterprise in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Ed. B. Nance and E.F. Glaze. Florence: Sismel 2011, p.309-330.
Mitchell, P.D., Stern, E., Tepper, Y. (2008) Dysentery in the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem: an ELISA analysis of two medieval latrines in the city of Acre (Israel). Journal of Archaeological Science 35(7): 1849-53. This study was reported in the news section of Science magazine, 30 May 2008, 320: 1139.
Mitchell, P.D., Huntley, J., Sterns, E. Bioarchaeological analysis of the 13th century latrines of the crusader hospital of St. John at Acre, Israel. In: Mallia-Milanes, V. (ed) The Military Orders: volume 3. Their History and Heritage. Aldershot: Ashgate 2008 p.213-23.
Mitchell, P.D., Tepper, Y. (2007) Intestinal parasitic worm eggs from a crusader period cesspool in the city of Acre (Israel). Levant 39: 91-5.
Mitchell, P.D. (2006) Child health in the crusader period inhabitants of Tel Jezreel, Israel. Levant 38: 37-44.
Mitchell, P.D. (2003) Pre-Columbian treponemal disease from 14th century AD Safed, Israel and the implications for the medieval eastern Mediterranean. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 121(2): 117-24.
Mitchell, P.D. The myth of the spread of leprosy with the crusades. In: The Past and Present of Leprosy. C. Roberts, K. Manchester, M. Lewis (eds). Oxford: Archaeopress. 2002 pp.175-81.
Mitchell, P.D. An evaluation of the leprosy of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem in the context of the mediaeval world. Appendix in: B. Hamilton, The Leper King and his Heirs: Baldwin IV and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2000 pp.245-58.