Yes, you read that right. Medieval crusader feces were uncovered in a castle in Cypress sometime in June and they were chock full of worms and parasites, showing poor hygiene from their...hosts? Is this surprising? Not really, but having actual evidence in hand...so to speak...helps with all sorts of hypotheses we've had about th Europeans who ventured afar.
According to a Reuters article:
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered that occupants of a 12th century Crusaders' castle in western Cyprus were rife with parasites, reaffirming previous research which suggested high mortality rates among Crusaders from malnutrition and infectious diseases.
Tests on latrine samples in the Saranda Kolones castle, a crusader fortress which was built after King Richard I of England captured Cyprus during the Third Crusade in 1191 AD, showed two species of parasite eggs, the roundworm and the whipworm, prevalent in the soil of what was once a cesspit.
It wasn't always battle that felled these knights, but poor nutrition and other bugs, making it tough to stay high in the saddle. The article goes on to say that an "estimated 15 to 20 percent of crusaders in long expeditions died from malnutrition and infectious diseases, on a par with those who died from wounds in battle."
The article is here.