'Black Death' plague skeletons found under Charterhouse Square in central London

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, September 22, 2023

'Black Death' plague skeletons found under Charterhouse Square in central London
Archaeologists working to uncover skeletons from what is understood to be a mass grave for victims of the Black Death, discovered when excavations were made to create a Crossrail tunnel shaft under Charterhouse Square in central London. Construction workers building a new railway in London have unearthed thirteen skeletons believed to be victims of the Black Death plague that killed a third of Europe's population in the 14th century, archaeologists said on March 15, 2013. AFP PHOTO/HANDOUT/CROSSRAIL.

LONDON (AFP).- Workers building a new railway in London have unearthed 13 skeletons thought to be victims of the Black Death plague that swept through Europe in the 14th century, archaeologists said on Friday.

The remains were dug up at Charterhouse Square in central London during excavation work for the city's £15 billion ($22.7 billion, 17.4 billion euro) Crossrail project.

Archaeologists believe the site could be the location of a plague cemetery described in medieval records, where up to 50,000 victims of the Black Death were buried.

The plague wiped out a third of Europe's population between 1348 and 1353.

"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," said Jay Carver, Crossrail's lead archaeologist.

"This is a highly significant discovery and at the moment we are left with many questions that we hope to answer.

"We will be undertaking scientific tests on the skeletons over the coming months to establish their cause of death, whether they were plague victims from the 14th century or later London residents, how old they were and perhaps evidence of who they were."

Records refer to a burial ground in London's Farringdon area, where Charterhouse Square is located, that opened in 1348.

The 13 skeletons were found over the last two weeks, laid out in two rows several feet below road level.

They will be taken to the Museum of London Archaeology for laboratory testing and possibly carbon-dating to try to establish their burial dates.

Scientists are hoping to use the skeletons to map the DNA signature of the plague, in research they hope could help combat modern diseases.

"Many biologists are researching ancient diseases in the hope of better understanding the modern ones," said Carver.

These are not the first skeletons found during the construction of London's Crossrail.

Archaeologists have already uncovered more than 300 skeletons dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, near the former site of the notorious "Bedlam" psychiatric hospital in east London.

The Crossrail line, under construction since 2009 and due to carry its first passengers in 2017, will run across London on an east-west route.

It will be mostly overground but will run underground through the city centre.

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

March 16, 2013

L’Art en guerre, France 1938-1947: From Picasso to Dubuffet opens at the Guggenheim Bilbao

David Goldblatt's photographs of South Africa join the Getty Museum's Collection

'Black Death' plague skeletons found under Charterhouse Square in central London

Titanic violin found in British attic; worth at least a six figure sum according to Henry Aldridge and Son

Picasso sells; Kanye West, Ronald Lauder and Sheikh Saud al Thani browse $5.2 billion fair

PDNB in Dallas exhibits the work of legendary pin-up photographer, Bunny Yeager

W Magazine and Dallas Museum of Art hosted a private dinner for Cindy Sherman

Remnants of porcelain set destroyed by rampaging Red Army for sale at Bonhams

Bonhams to sell painting by Derek Gardner depicting last battle of gallant Frenchman

Bonhams appoint Laure Raibaut as Senior Specialist of Modern & Contemporary Art in Hong Kong

Matt Calderwood's first exhibition in a public gallery in the UK opens at BALTIC

First exhibition by innovative designers Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh opens at the Jewish Museum

Early photographs, classic images, Avant-Garde works among top lots at Swann Galleries

Liquid Land: Book of photographs by Rena Effendi shows the barren, liquid land of Absheron

Tate Americas Foundation hosts Third Artists Dinner in New York to be held on May 8, 2013

Franz Liszt letters get record price at Geneva auction

New work by Los Angeles based artist Steve Schmidt on view at Edward Cella Art + Architecture

175 lots of art glass, European ivory, French furniture & fine art prints will be sold at A.B. Levy's sale

Tsar Nicholas II's rare vintages highlight Heritage Auctions' March wine event

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful