Bio


David Pickel is an archaeologist exploring health and disease in the ancient Roman world. He is particularly interested studying infectious disease in antiquity and the archaeology of disease transmission. David is also Director of Excavations for the Villa Romana di Poggio Gramignano Archaeological Project, a multidisciplinary research effort focusing on the Augustan period villa at Poggio Gramignano and its associated late antique (mid. 5th cent. CE) infant and child cemetery, both located along the Tiber River near the Umbrian town of Lugnano in Teverina, Italy. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2021.

Academic Appointments


  • Lecturer, Classics

Honors & Awards


  • School of Humanities and Sciences Dean's Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University (2021-22)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center (2020-21)
  • Ric Weiland Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University (2018-20)

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Classics (2021)
  • M.A., University of Arizona, Classics (2015)
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, University of Pennsylvania, Classical Studies (2013)
  • B.A., Florida State University, Classical Archaeology (2012)

2021-22 Courses


All Publications


  • Evaluating the stress of malarial infection and other environmental factors in a 5th century CE Umbrian community through the mother-infant dyad Wilson, J. A., Pickel, D. G., Newfield, T. WILEY. 2021: 114
  • The influence of vector-borne disease on human history: socio-ecological mechanisms. Ecology letters Athni, T. S., Shocket, M. S., Couper, L. I., Nova, N., Caldwell, I. R., Caldwell, J. M., Childress, J. N., Childs, M. L., De Leo, G. A., Kirk, D. G., MacDonald, A. J., Olivarius, K., Pickel, D. G., Roberts, S. O., Winokur, O. C., Young, H. S., Cheng, J., Grant, E. A., Kurzner, P. M., Kyaw, S., Lin, B. J., Lopez, R. C., Massihpour, D. S., Olsen, E. C., Roache, M., Ruiz, A., Schultz, E. A., Shafat, M., Spencer, R. L., Bharti, N., Mordecai, E. A. 2021

    Abstract

    Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) are embedded within complex socio-ecological systems. While research has traditionally focused on the direct effects of VBDs on human morbidity and mortality, it is increasingly clear that their impacts are much more pervasive. VBDs are dynamically linked to feedbacks between environmental conditions, vector ecology, disease burden, and societal responses that drive transmission. As a result, VBDs have had profound influence on human history. Mechanisms include: (1) killing or debilitating large numbers of people, with demographic and population-level impacts; (2) differentially affecting populations based on prior history of disease exposure, immunity, and resistance; (3) being weaponised to promote or justify hierarchies of power, colonialism, racism, classism and sexism; (4) catalysing changes in ideas, institutions, infrastructure, technologies and social practices in efforts to control disease outbreaks; and (5) changing human relationships with the land and environment. We use historical and archaeological evidence interpreted through an ecological lens to illustrate how VBDs have shaped society and culture, focusing on case studies from four pertinent VBDs: plague, malaria, yellow fever and trypanosomiasis. By comparing across diseases, time periods and geographies, we highlight the enormous scope and variety of mechanisms by which VBDs have influenced human history.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ele.13675

    View details for PubMedID 33501751

  • The Genetics of Malaria Resistance in Ancient Rome Moots, H., Pickel, D., Sperduti, A., Antonio, M. L., Gao, Z., Nava, A., Gelabert, P., Lucci, M., Candilio, F., Sawyer, S., Oberreiter, V., Rubini, M., Bondioli, L., Coppa, A., Pinhasi, R., Pritchard, J. WILEY. 2020: 191–92
  • Fertility Magic and Childbirth During a Malaria Epidemic: An examination of sixty burials from a Roman infant cemetery Wilson, J. A., Malis, S. W., Pickel, D. G. WILEY. 2020: 309
  • COMPARING OPEN SOURCE TOOLS, TECHNIQUES AND SOLUTIONS FOR THE PHOTOGRAMMETRIC PROCESSING OF DIGITAL IMAGES IN THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD THE CASE OF THE "ENCHYTRISMOS" BURIAL FROM THE LATE ANCIENT NECROPOLIS OF POGGIO GRAMIGNANO ARCHEOMATICA-TECNOLOGIE PER I BENI CULTURALI Montagnetti, R., Chiraz, P., Ricci, A., Pickel, D. 2019; 10 (1): 6–12
  • New Excavations of Malaria-Affected Victims at Lugnano in Teverina, Italy Pickel, D., Soren, D., Inwood, J. WILEY. 2018: 208