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The Gastro-Archeologist

Revealing the Mysteries of the Intestine and its Diseases

Heidelberg | London, 11 March 2021

Book cover: The Gastro-Archeologist The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased desire to understand more about the immune system.  In this book, the author Jeremy Woodward uses the novel analogy of an archaeologist dissecting history in layers.  By doing so, he explains how the gut and the immune system are ancient and intertwined, and how they can be best understood in their evolutionary context, including the diseases that arise when they malfunction, such as food allergy, coeliac disease and Crohn’s disease.

The book not only offers a unique perspective across the evolutionary history of the gut, but it is also beautifully illustrated by a wealth of hand-drawn illustration by Charlie E. Manning and sprinkled with anecdotes and interesting facts about the gut. 

It addresses questions everyone has wondered about before, such as why food allergies are becoming common. Its content is divided into three parts. Part one, titled the “Selection of the Fattest”, tells the story of the evolution of the gut itself. The next part focuses on the evolution of immunity and how the immune mechanisms’ layers are retained in the gut. “The Gastro-Archeologist”, the book’s final part, then ties the first two together and highlights how understanding the gut and immune system in their evolutionary context can help us understand diseases affecting them. 

“By looking at the gut and its diseases and taking a necessary sideways step to dissect the different layers over time, we learn much about those diseases, but also about the immune system and life itself. This is the concept of ‘gastro-archeology’," writes author Jeremy Woodward. 

The book is aimed at anyone interested in the gut, its immunity and diseases, ranging from a lay audience to experts to patients wanting to understand more about their conditions.

About the author

Jeremy Woodward is a consultant gastroenterologist working in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. He specialises in diseases of the small intestine and clinical nutrition, which extends from tube-feeding techniques to intestinal transplantation. He lectures on gastroenterology and nutrition in the Medical School in Cambridge University where he is also a communications skills facilitator, and he teaches gastrointestinal physiology to undergraduates in Christ’s College (where his own career started).  

Charlie E. Manning, illustrator, comes from a long line of creative folk. Educated in Saffron Walden, Essex and in Cambridge, she has worked within the art industry in roles such as college technician, art and antiquities custodian and art materials advisor and retail for over 20 years. 

About the book

Jeremy Woodward
The Gastro-Archeologist
2021, 321 p. 46 b/w illustrations
Hardcover €35,30 | £39,39 | $27,99
ISBN 978-3-030-62620-4
eISBN 978-3-030-62621-1

Services for Journalists
  • Dr Jeremy Woodward is available for interviews.

For booking an interview or for requesting a review copy, contact


Felicitas Behrendt | Springer Nature | Communications
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