8 Reading 3-1 Later, Cohen and G.J. Armelagos organized a symposium on the paleopathology of people at the time when agriculture was being adopted in various places around the world (Cohen and Armelagos, 1984). The reports in the symposium present some fascinating glimpses of the health status of ancient people. On the whole, they did not provide evidence for a decline in health before the adoption of agriculture, but there was a clear consensus that early farmers were not as healthy as pre-agricultural people. In general, the people of upper Paleolithic were taller, had excellent health, and no evidence of endemic disease. In the eastern Mediterranean, there was a sudden drop in stature and evidence of some anemia and malaria during the Mesolithic. Presumably the rise in sea level resulted in more marshes and mosquitoes and an increase in population density favored the virulent Plasmodium falciparum . The diet, however, ap-peared good (Angel, 1984). The nutritional health of Neolithic people in that region was low and remained low for about 5000 yr until a major improvement in classic times (650-33 BC). The decline was progressive, not sudden, and there
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