Conferência "A History of Geological Therapies"

Conferência pelo Doutor Chris Duffin, do Museu de História Natural de Londres

1 de Junho, segunda-feira, 18:00

Museu Nacional de Arqueologia de Lisboa

Chris Duffin

The Natural History Museum, London

Biography: Originally trained as a geologist, Chris Duffin spent most of his working life as a High School teacher in south London. Following a Ph.D. in Vertebrate Palaeontology at University College London in 1980, he has published extensively (over 160 papers) on a wide range of fossil groups including crocodiles, lizards and barnacles, but is particularly concerned with sharks and their allies. He recently co-authored the Handbook of Paleoichthyology Volume 3D . Chondrichthyes. Paleozoic Elasmobranchii : Teeth (2010, Friedrich Pfeil Verlag). The history of Geology is a relatively recent interest and has borne fruit in a Special Publication of the Geological Society of London entitled A History of Geology and Medicine (Duffin, Moody & Gardner-Thorpe 2013). Chris received the Palaeontological Association’s Mary Anning Award for outstanding contributions to palaeontology in 2011 and is currently a Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum in London.

A History of Geological Therapies

Virtually every culture in the world has made use of geological materials to treat their sick. These geopharmaceuticals often supposedly acted by sympathy, transference or natural magnetic powers. This lecture will examine the ways in which a variety of rocks, minerals, fossils and earths were employed by healers and apothecaries from the second millennium BCE to around 1750, taking into account Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Roman, medieval Arabic, Chinese and Western practices, based both upon artefacts and written accounts. Lapis lazuli, for example, was used to treat eye conditions and tinnitus by the Assyrians, and used in specialized cosmetic and medicinal kohls by the Egyptians. Various clays, mostly from the Mediterranean area, were worked into small cakes and their provenance authenticated with symbols; these terra sigillata were used extensively to treat digestive disorders and as ingredients in a wide range of medicines used against all sorts of diseases. Even precious stones utilized in the war against ill health. A well-stocked geological collection could provide medicaments for an enormous diversity of ailments.

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