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Workers unearth 'Black Death' plague pit

Posted on Friday, 15 March, 2013 | Comment icon 47 comments


Image credit: CC 3.0 Hitcher

 
More than a dozen skeletons have been discovered buried underneath a busy part of central London.

During the 14th century the Black Death wiped out as many as 200 million people across Europe with records indicating that up to 50,000 people may have been buried in parts of London once referred to as "no man's land". Workers unearthed the skeletons below a road in Farrington during excavations for London's Crossrail project.

Historians believe that the neat arrangement of the bodies suggests that the victims were buried during a period before the plague became an pandemic. It is likely that the skeletons will be retrieved for study and research purposes.

"For seven centuries they have lain beneath the feet of commuters in one of the busiest parts of central London."

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 Source: Independent


  Discuss: View comments (47)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #38 Posted by Sparkcool on 11 April, 2013, 23:07
During the Black death, bodies were at first buried. but as the mortality rate increased, burying the bodies became too laborious the churches began to burn the bodies.
Comment icon #39 Posted by zebra99 on 12 April, 2013, 4:53
LOL. Frank I did just that, I checked my calculations and a Boeing 747-8 weighs 81.45 average elephants. Indian or African?
Comment icon #40 Posted by Taun on 12 April, 2013, 10:45
I had a teacher who was a real 'bug' about the metric system... She insisted once that we work a problem involving velocity but not show it as "English" (unfortunately for her she did not specifically state "Use metric")... So I showed my answer in FPF (Furlongs per fortnight).... I got an A (but a stern talking to)... I would like to add (a bit ON topic)... That apparently Mr. ealdwita really knows his buboes!
Comment icon #41 Posted by Frank Merton on 12 April, 2013, 10:55
The States insists on using the "English" system even though the English don't. This has several times lead to genuine disasters because of lax attention to units of measure. There is also the way Americans insist on showing dates, that makes my passport and visas so confusing and that I have to pay close attention to whenever I'm filling out forms in that country. I think the US loses economically with this stubbornness, and they certainly are seen as arrogant because of it. What really p***es me though is that because of this US attitude the rest of the world has to spend time teaching an ob... [More]
Comment icon #42 Posted by zebra99 on 12 April, 2013, 17:28
The States insists on using the "English" system even though the English don't. This has several times lead to genuine disasters because of lax attention to units of measure. There is also the way Americans insist on showing dates, that makes my passport and visas so confusing and that I have to pay close attention to whenever I'm filling out forms in that country. I take it you mean like the terrorist attacks of 11/9
Comment icon #43 Posted by Myles on 15 April, 2013, 15:23
As far as the date format goes, I think month, day, year is best because that is the way we say it. During the Black death, bodies were at first buried. but as the mortality rate increased, burying the bodies became too laborious the churches began to burn the bodies. ...............ashes, ashes we all fall down.
Comment icon #44 Posted by FurthurBB on 17 April, 2013, 0:04
The bacterium Yersinia pestis which caused Bubonic plague cannot survive being buried in the ground for any length of time, so unless you get too close to somebody who is on intimate terms with Xenopsia cheopis (the Oriental Rat Flea) then your chances of growing lumps under your armpits are minimal! The bubonic plague has an unusual course. In an epidemic about 2/3 of the people infected early will die, but as it passes from person to person it usually loses a lot of its virulence and people infected toward the end have more like a 10-15% mortality rate. It is probably a lot the same thing as... [More]
Comment icon #45 Posted by FurthurBB on 17 April, 2013, 0:14
Yes, I agree up to a point. As far as the 'Black Death' was concerned, most historians have gone along with traditional opinions and have opted for Bubonic-type plague, spread by the rat flea. but there are other schools of thought....for instance, in 2000, biologist Gunnar Karlsson pointed out that the Black Death killed between half and two-thirds of the population of Iceland, although there were no rats in Iceland at this time. Historian Norman F. Cantor suggests, in his 2001 book In the Wake of the Plague, that the Black Death might have been a combination of pandemics including a form of ... [More]
Comment icon #46 Posted by FurthurBB on 17 April, 2013, 0:24
You know bird flue is still lurking about. Just a week or so ago a man in Cambodia died of it, and there have been several in China. When a human being gets it, the mortality is very high. It does appear that it's something more difficult than first feared for it to develop the ability to spread from person to person, so the world has relaxed. Still, it could happen. And that is not the only variety of influenza that could turn both deadly and highly infectious. To my mind this is one of the possible disasters lurking about and the sooner a general influenza vaccine is developed the safer we a... [More]
Comment icon #47 Posted by FurthurBB on 17 April, 2013, 0:26
Getting a bit OT, but it seems to me that the arguments for the Metric system are really arguments for a world-standard measuring system. It may be that such systems are perfectly arbitrary, so that the Metric system will do as well as any other, but it may also be that there are units that are more 'natural' for people: if "one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi..." approximates seconds, then presumably there is a shorter, 'natural', interval which people can count as "One, two...." Likewise units of mass, length, temperature and so on. A world-standard system is obviously a Good Thing: but it does... [More]


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