This study applies a pioneering new approach, ‘big data palaeoecology’, which evaluates the Black Death’s mortality on a regional scale across Europe. While we can confirm that the Black Death had a devastating impact in some regions, we found that it had negligible or no impact in others.
These inter-regional differences in the Black Death’s mortality across Europe demonstrate the significance of cultural, ecological, economic, societal and climatic factors that mediated the dissemination and impact of the disease. The complex interplay of these factors, along with disease ecology, are crucial for understanding both past and present pandemics.
Location of pollen-analysed sediment cores used in this study.