The Archaeology of Leprosy: Challenging Stigma

Ms Kori Filipek-Ogden is a PhD student at Durham University’s archaeology department. Kori’s research examines Medieval skeletons to study the clinical and social effects of leprosy.

Leprosy is the only medical condition which has an associated pejorative – ‘Leper’. Contemporary sufferers still carry sentences of social stigma and discrimination, leading to exclusion of those afflicted from their communities and social interactions.

Kori hopes that her two-fold experimental design – examining immunological susceptibility and the subsequent extent of societal stigma in response to leprosy in Medieval England – will not only help to map year-by-year the pathology and effect of leprosy, but that it will also help to improve the lives of those who live with leprosy today.

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