Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

David B. Landon

Second Advisor

Heather B. Trigg

Third Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski


This research explores the knowledge of medical techniques during the early 18th century in Boston, Massachusetts, a period of modernization and changing attitudes toward disease. By analyzing archaeoparasitological samples, written accounts, and artifacts associated with medicinal practices, I shed light on attempts to treat parasitic diseases encountered by those living in urban Boston. The collections I have selected to analyze are samples of urban Boston life and provide ideal contexts for parasite preservation. I analyze samples from the Parker-Emery household privy (c. 1720-1750) in the North End and compare them to samples from the early 18th-century Town Dock landfill in downtown Boston. This analysis contributes to information of public responses to diseases during a period of increasing urban modernization, by connecting parasite disease load to medicinal practices and material culture. Additionally, this research uses an archaeological perspective to address a gap in medical history literature that is absent in historical documentation.