Thirteen Black Death skeletons were unearthed in London, archaeologists announced on Friday. The skeletons were dug up by workers on the £15 billion Crossrail project.
While only 13 skeletons have been dug up so far, up to 50,000 people may be buried at the site in Charterhouse Square. The area was mentioned as a plague cemetery in ancient records.
The old records mention a burial ground in Farringdon area. It opened during the Black Death plague in 1348. Jay Carver, lead archaeologist for the Crossrail project, called the discovery “highly significant.”
He added: “The depth of burials, the pottery found with the skeletons and the way the skeletons have been set out all point towards this being part of the 14th century emergency burial ground.”
While they believe the skeletons to be from the Black Death time, they still have questions. Carver explained that a team of archaeologists will perform scientific tests on the skeletons to establish their cause of death, how old they were, and even evidence of who they were.
The ancient records suggest that the area was used as a burial ground until the 1500s. All of the skeletons found so far were buried neatly in rows. The archaeologists have discovered other skeletons during the Crossrail projects.
They already uncovered more than 300 sets of remains at a known burial ground at Liverpool Street. Those skeletons date from the 1500s to 1700s and were located near the Bedlam hospital. Along with the Black Death skeletons, archaeologists also hope to discover Roman artifacts as they continue to dig deeper at the Farrington site.
Once archaeologists are finished removing the remains, excavators will dig a shaft down to about 65 feet. The shaft will be used to support tunneling works. About 1.5 million of the 25 million people who died from the Black Plague lived in Great Britain.
Once the Black Plague skeletons have been examined thoroughly, they will be reburied either on the site or in another cemetery.
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