13 black death skeletons found under Farringdon during Crossrail dig

"Delicate work: archaeologists under Charterhouse Square."Source: London Evening Standard
“Delicate work: archaeologists under Charterhouse Square.”
Source: London Evening Standard

The London Evening Standard has this report, titled, “13 black death skeletons found in plague pit under Farrindon – and there could be 50,000 more.”

1/3 of all Britons(1.5 million) succumbed to the plague of the mid-1300s, 25 million perished over all in Europe, according to the article.  Here’s more from the report:

Archaeologists have found 13 skeletons beneath the City – and believe they could be some of 50,000 black death victims buried in an emergency cemetery in the 14th century.

The adult skeletons, laid out in two neat rows, were uncovered during excavation work for the £14.8 billion Crossrail project.

They were found under Charterhouse Square in Farringdon 8ft (2.4m) below the road that surrounds the gardens in the centre of the square.

Records indicate the area, described as a “no man’s land”, had once housed a hastily established cemetery for victims of the bubonic plague which killed more than a quarter of England’s population in 1348.

Nick Elsden from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) said it is likely more remains will be found. “The short answer is we don’t know just how many skeletons are out there,” he said.

But he was quick to reassure the public that there was no longer any health risk.

“It’s not something that stays in the soil. You have to actually meet someone who has it in order to catch it.”

Pottery dated up until 1350 found in the graves by the Crossrail team and the layout of the skeletons all point to them being plague victims.

A similar skeleton formation was found in a Black Death burial site in nearby east Smithfield in the 1980s. The skeletons are being carefully excavated and taken to MOLA for testing.

Read the full article, click here.

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