The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
Plague victims ‘cosmopolitan’
MEDIEVAL RESIDENTS of the nation’s capital may have been just as cosmopolitan as they are today, according to analysis of victims of the Black Death.
An investigation into skeletons found in a plague burial ground concluded four- in- 10 Londoners killed during the epidemic grew up in other parts of Britain.
Workers on the Crossrail project unearthed the remains of 25 people in the City of London last year.
The skeletons of 13 men, three women and two children, as well as seven other unidentifiable remains, were found under Char terhouse Square in Farringdon during excavation work for the £14.8 billion project.
Experts said the discovery was “significant”, saying thousands more bodies could have been laid to rest in a mass grave in the area.
They said the finding has provided the first evidence of the location of the second emergency burial ground set up in the capital to cater for the masses of bodies.
Carbon dating techniques which were conducted by Queen’s University Belfast experts indicated three “phases” of burials — coinciding with outbreaks of the plague in the capital during the 14th and 15th centuries.
The Black Death spread from Europe to England in 1348 and the layer of bodies found at the bottom of the excavation site are estimated to have been buried between 1348 and 1349, the researchers said.
Six-out-of-10 bodies analysed were born and bred in London.
But four had come from further afield, presumably seeking work, from the south east of England, central England or the east of England, and one from northern England or Scotland.
The findings feature in Channel 4’s, Return OfThe Black Death, at 8pm on April 6.