Excavation for knowledge about leprosy

Excavation for knowledge about leprosy


A leprosy excavation is currently being carried out in Bregenz. The remains of leprosy patients from the Middle Ages are being searched at the hospital to examine their bones for bacterial residues. Experts hope that this will give them new information about the disease.

“We are here looking for human bones so that we can find out who is buried at this site and to take samples and examine them for leprosy,” says Danish scientist Dorth Dangvard Pedersen, an anthropologist at the University of Southern Denmark. Huh.

These studies should help to better understand the spread of the disease. In addition, other infectious diseases – such as tuberculosis – should be better managed. However, bones of leprosy patients have not yet been found.

ORF Vorarlberg

Evidence of a Medieval Cemetery

There are signs of a cemetery to it, Pedersen explains. Nails were found that could have come from wooden coffins: “I found nails like this many times,” she says. In the excavation area in Bregenz, people with leprosy who were rejected by society were placed in the past. Historical sources will also prove that there was a cemetery for these people here.

“We keep a map of the situation in the city archives, where the Infirmary Chapel is shown with the Infirmary,” explains Thomas Klagien, the archivist for the city of Bregenz. A small cemetery can be clearly seen on the west side: “You can tell by the cross,” he says. Therefore, the location of the cemetery is very well known. The white stone slabs on the floor may also symbolize that there was once a cemetery at this point, Clegion speculates.

Leprosy excavation in Breganzo

Excavations in Bregenz are currently looking for human remains of leprosy patients. A Danish scientist hopes this will provide information about bacterial strains that caused infectious disease in Bregenz in the Middle Ages.

Leprosy still a problem globally

Accordingly, they now want to dig for human remains at this point. The excavations are conducted by a Catholic human rights organization committed to global health – as leprosy is still a global problem today.

“There are still 200,000 people living with leprosy,” explains Peter Boucher from Plan:G – Partnership for Global Health. This is the situation in different countries of Africa, Asia or Latin America. These people will closely experience the stigma of leprosy. “We want to enable local partners to tackle this issue and solve the problem themselves,” Boucher says.

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