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Workers unearth 'Black Death' plague pit

Posted on Friday, 15 March, 2013 | Comment icon 48 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."

  View: Full article |  Source: Independent

  Discuss: View comments (48)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #39 Posted by zebra99 on 12 April, 2013, 4:53
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 t... [More]
Comment icon #42 Posted by zebra99 on 12 April, 2013, 17:28
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. ...............ashes, ashes we all fall down.
Comment icon #44 Posted by FurthurBB on 17 April, 2013, 0:04
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 attenuating viruses for vaccines. Humans are not the natural host and as it is serially passed from person to person the bacteria changes. During the black plaque there must have been a very virulent strain that was well adapted to humans or several strains. There are antibiotics that can treat bub... [More]
Comment icon #45 Posted by FurthurBB on 17 April, 2013, 0:14
I have also often wondered if it was a hemorrhagic fever virus. Though the lack of rats and the fact that the people themselves who were often exposed to bubonic plague thought it was different it could have been a very virulent strain that was well adapted to humans that almost always caused pneumonic plague so was exceptionally communicable. This would cause a higher death rate than normal bubonic plague and is easily spread from person to person without any need for rats.
Comment icon #46 Posted by FurthurBB on 17 April, 2013, 0:24
I hate that they call it bird flu all influenza was originally bird flu.
Comment icon #47 Posted by FurthurBB on 17 April, 2013, 0:26
Well, the meteric system is much more accurate and easily converted from one size/weight to another (cm -- km).

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