A Crossrail project in Farringdon, London has uncovered 13 skeletons in an unmarked burial ground which is thought to date to the time of The Black Death. This pandemic of Plague swept across Europe in the late 1340s, with up to 50,000 people thought to have been buried within 3 years in pits which now lay beneath London’s thriving metropolis.
The skeletons at the Farringdon site are thought to be up to 660 years old and were located 2.5m below the road around the gardens in Charterhouse Square with pottery dated to 1350. The skeletons are currently being studied at the Museum of London Archaeology where scientists will look to map the DNA signature of the Plague bacteria.
Crossrail Lead Archaeologist Jay Carver said: “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. However, at this early stage, 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.”