(2022 – 2026) public health, world

“Pursuing Public Health in the Preindustrial World, 1100-1800”

2022 – 2026, Monash University, Australia


“Pursing Public Health in the Preindustrial World, 1100-1800” is an international research project, based out of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. It gathers historians, (bio)archaeologists and religionists spread throughout Europe, the US, India, and Australia to explore preindustrial population-level health across regions.

Building directly on our previous project (see below) this project expands its remit in two ways. Firstly, the project covers preventative practices not only in Europe, but also in India and the Eastern Mediterranean, regions where Hippocratic or Galenic medicine’s long-term presence affords points of comparison and knowledge transmission. Secondly, by focusing on non-urban and mobile groups such as courts, miners and pilgrims, the project balances almost exclusive urban focus in much of the existing scholarship on premodern public health.

Funding is generously provided by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects grant (DP220102914).

As part of our extensive team working at Rocca San Silvestro medieval castle site, gathered at Monash Prato. From left: Andrea Tommolini (archaeozoologist), Vanessa Volpi (geochemistry), Mauro Buonincontri (archaeobotanist), Serena Viva (anthropologist), Guy Geltner (historian), Giovanna Bianchi (archaeologist).

Our team members include:

Guy Geltner (Monash University, Australia)
Megan Cassidy-Welch (Independant scholar)
Aydogan Kars
(Monash University, Australia)
Giovanna Bianchi
(Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy)
Luisa Dallai
(Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy)
Serena Viva
(University of Salento, Italy)
Mauro Buonincontri
(Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy)
Farhat Hasan
(University of Delhi, India)
Mukhtar Ahmed
(University of Delhi, India)
Shireen Hamza
Rose Byfleet
(Monash University, Australia)
Sarah May
(Monash University, Australia)

Our Project outputs so far:

1. We have presented at various conferences and seminar programs, including at:
i] University of Melbourne’s History of Philosophy and Science seminar
ii] Monash University’s Sufi Studies network
iii] International Medieval Congress (IMC) 2023, in Leeds
iv] Annual Conference of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion 2023, in Sydney
v] “Medieval Bodies: New Prejects, New Perspectives”, at Australian Catholic University, and organised by our team member Megan Cassidy-Welch

2. We have met regularly on a bimonthly rotating basis to workshop our research progress to each other, to listen to invited guest speakers, and to share readings across disciplines and areas to further develop our methodology and frameworks.

3. We have published journal articles on premodern mining, and an encyclopedia entry of smell.

4. We ran a social media campaign as part of the 2023 Global Public Health week (#GPHW2023)

5. We analysed human remains from an older archaeological excavation at Rocca San Silvestro medieval castle site, an important preindustrial mining community site.




Explore our team members and their activities through Open Access publicationsblog posts, and events.