Skip to comments.Medieval plague victims unearthed in City of London square
Posted on 03/14/2013 10:10:16 PM PDT by Beowulf9
Seven centuries after their demise, the skeletons of 12 plague victims have been unearthed in the City of London, a find which archaeologists believe to be just the tip of a long-lost Black Death mass burial ground.
Arranged in careful rows, the bodies were discovered 2.5 metres below the ground in Charterhouse Square in works for a Crossrail tunnel shaft beside the future ticketing hall for Farringdon station.
Tests are needed to confirm the skeletons' provenance, but the discovery should shed more light on life and death in 14th-century Britain and help scientists to understand how the plague mutated.
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
If the plague had been severely epidemic at the time, I would have thought the bodies would be buried closer together.
My thoughts as well. It seems a bit less random than I would expect.
“The first skeletons were laid out in neat rows, suggesting that they died in an early wave while the authorities the then lord mayor had made provision for the impending disaster coming from the continent.
But this is the first sign of what John Stow’s 1598 Survey of London suggested could contain as many as 50,000 bodies.”
It was the work of charity in those days to bury the dead with as much care as possible. It was considered a work of mercy. The people were unfortunate victims, and they buried them similar to their loved ones.
In our modern mindset, we tend to think of mass burials like the Nazi atrocities where people would be carelessly lumped together, however the people in London in those days were not as hard-hearted and exhibited tremendous care for the dead.
Did they find any tombstones inscribed: ‘Ichaue tolde yow Ich was sek.’
Defoe's work was written some time after the plague, and Defoe would have only been five years old in 1665, and the work is regarded as an historical novel in current parlance. However, Defoe went to some great lengths and detail to bring the impact of the plague home to the reader.
Samuel Pepys' Diary is a more contemporary writing, although I have (admittedly) not read it in its entirety.
They didn't wash ... anything, pissed in the street, and dropped their aitches ...
What'dya' expect ?
Let’s just hope it didn’t mutate into a new strain that can survive on dead bodies for 700 years!
Too late ... some became democrats, migrated over here and turned into commies.
14th century Black Death remains uncovered...this is how zombies are made.
Bring Out Your Dead!
Pepys’ diary is fascinating! I’m lucky to have the complete set which I picked up in a 2nd hand bookshop. Even a edited version is great reading.
yeah, what could possibly go wrong? /rhetorical
It is a misconception that “common grave” denotes mass burial. It is more accurately a “Commoner’s grave”, generally one in non-consecrated ground on land provided by the cemetary owner and not the family. It may contain the remains of several unrelated people who died about the same time, but doesn’t really fit the image of a trench filled with bodies, i.e. a mass burial.