The Black Death Digital Archive Project

Black Death

Black Death

Project Overview: 

Our understanding of the Black Death, the plague pandemic that ravaged Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa between 1346 and 1353, has been transformed in the 15 years due to new developments in genetics. An evolutionary history of the causative organism of plague, Yersinia pestis, allows us now to track plague’s movements across vast landscapes and demonstrate the connected stories linking outbreaks from China to Spain to sub-Saharan Africa. Just as the geographical footprint of the Second Plague Pandemic has grown, so, too, has its chronological scope. We can now demonstrate that a sustained proliferation of strains of Y. pestis started in the late 12th or early 13th century, and lasted up to the 19th century. Researching such a vast phenomenon demands the combined labors of scientists and historians. This project serves as a portal for researchers from all disciplinary backgrounds, allowing them to find the best methodological work with links to biological, archaelogical, and documentary databases.

Project Team: 

Monica H. Green, Arizona State University

Joris Roosen, Utrecht University

Nükhet Varlık, Rutgers University-Newark

Bibliography: 

Green, Monica H. “On Learning How to Teach the Black Death.” HPS&ST Note, Mar. 2018, pp. 7–33.

Green, Monica, editor. “Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death.” The Medieval Globe Books, vol. 1, 2014, https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/medieval_globe/1.