Crossrail excavations reveal Black Death skeletons

UK rail project unearths plague burial site from the 14th century

Human remains laid out in rows on the edge of Charterhouse Square in Farringdon, London
Human remains laid out in rows on the edge of Charterhouse Square in Farringdon, London
NEWS, Business, Crossrail excavations reveal Black Death skeletons
NEWS, Business, Crossrail excavations reveal Black Death skeletons

Archaeologists working on the Crossrail project have discovered thirteen skeletons laid out in rows on the edge of Charterhouse Square at Farringdon, reported The Construction Index.

Historical records burials in the Farringdon area during the Black Death Plague in 1348, suggesting that up to 50,000 people may have been buried in less than three years in impromptu cemetery.

It has been suggested that the 660-year-old remains may be part of the burial ground, which was described in historical records as a “no man’s land”, but which has never been located.

During the past two weeks, Crossrail’s archaeologists have unearthed 13 skeletons from 2.5m below the road in Charterhouse Square, which is but part of the significant development over the centuries.

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. However, at this early stage, it all points towards this being part of the 14th Century emergency burial ground.”

Two years ago, during associated utility works, the Crossrail project also uncovered human bones that had previously been disturbed and suggested a burial ground could be nearby.

It was not the first time skeletens were discovered by the archaeologists, with more than 300 burials already uncovered near the site of the Bedlam Hospital at Liverpool Street from the 1500s to 1700s.

Charterhouse Square itself had previously been identified as a possible site for the lost burial ground as it was one of the few locations in Farringdon to remain undeveloped for the past 700 years.

In 1998, a single skeleton was discovered when archaeologists were investigating the location of a chapel shown on historic maps, but on its own it was not enough evidence to confirm a burial ground.

 

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