Ancient Graveyard Tells an Authentic Human Tale #poem #poetry #archeology #history

Troy, the fabled citybyzantine_agriculture
where gods and kings made war,
contains a buried story,
more recent than
its epic lore.

Malnutrition and disease,
less noble but more real,
damage to the joints and spines
from labor in the fields.

One sad story written down
in bones and DNA –
infection struck an unborn boy,
took mom and child away.

A slightly different strain
than modern distribution.
Eight hundred years
is a long time
in microbe evolution.

What poems are writ to infants lost?
Who sings of nameless death?
Laid in a grave, our human tale
Of pain and love and breath.

By Kate Rauner

Thanks to for this study, from a Byzantine graveyard, in the journal eLife (Jan. 10, 2017). A calcified nodule on a woman’s skeleton contained not only her DNA and that of the microbes that killed her, but the only trace of her male fetus’s existence.

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