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First Workshop on Ancient Rare Diseases
Wann : 27.02.2019 - 01.03.2019
Art : Workshop

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Paleopathology of genetic diseases affecting bones. Research and awareness

Rare Diseases: Today
In Europe, a rare disease is defined as a pathological condition affecting less than 1/2000 people and most rare diseases are due to genetical disorders.
Their low frequency generates a lack of visibility, both in medical environments and in social media, which is ultimately responsible for the lack of support and resources.
As data on frequencies, epidemiology and aetiology of rare diseases are largely incomplete, we believe that understanding their history is a crucial step to take in order to increase knowledge and awareness about both the present and the past of rare diseases.

Rare Diseases: Past and Future
Reports on rare diseases from archaeological contexts can be found in specialised literature, although a dedicated forum is still missing. The current situation heavily affects the visibility of the available data and, ultimately, they hardly reach the larger public.
This workshop aims at creating a platform for a more systematic approach to rare diseases, where single cases are collected, discussed and integrated in a broader overview.

The 1st W.A.R.D. workshop, main aims:
The workshop offers a common ground to outstanding researchers from universities, research institutes and museum where to:

1. present and discuss the latest cases of rare diseases from the archaeological record;
2. create a shared knowledge articulated in a network of expertise and specialised resources;
3. put together the pieces that compose the history of rare diseases from the past to the present;
4. create innovative solutions to dismiss the “cabinet of curiosity” approach common to most the old museum collections and make paleopathological cases of rare diseases accessible to the large public.

Public evening talk
"Ancient Rare Diseases: an obscure part of our past, present and future?"
With Anne L. Grauer (President-elect of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists), Niels Lynnerup (President of the Paleopathology Association) and Andrew Curry (Scientific Press)
Further informations:

For further information, application and programme visit


Ethnologisches Museum Berlin

Lansstraße 8
14195 Berlin


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Julia Gresky
Referat für Naturwissenschaften an der Zentrale
Im Dol 2-6
14195 Berlin
+49 30 187711-339

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