The discovery and study of skeletons in London help to understand the period of the Black Death in the city

The discovery and study of skeletons in London help to understand the period of the Black Death in the city

If we informed you weeks ago of interesting ancient objects that had emerged in London during the construction of the great railway network (Crossrail), as well as 20 Roman skulls near Liverpool Street station, the thing does not seem to have ended there. In the area of ​​the emblematic Charterhouse Square, In the city center, In March of last year, 25 skeletons from the 14th century were found that died from the Black Death., which devastated Europe in that century and specifically England from its second half.

Now the experts have finished their analysis and studies on bodies, of great importance to London's history since they have contributed greatly to knowing the bleak context of London affected by the pandemic. The cause of death has been confirmed by finding traces of the bacteria in the teethYersinia pestis,causing the horrendous disease.

According to the radiocarbon analyzes they have determined the burial It is divided into two layers of different periods: a first of those affected by the Plague at its peak between 1348 and 1350 and a second dating from the mid-1400s, during later outbreaks of the plague.

It seems that it was an improvised cemetery in the face of the hundreds of deaths that the epidemic left behind. Keele University has conducted a geophysical forensic survey to determine the location of more graves and corpses in Charterhouse Square. Pending the final results, the possible location of a kind of chapel in the center of the square is speculated.

The find has tested the capabilities of scientists and advances in biological and DNA science applied to history. Having found a cemetery with victims of the Black Death confirms what until now could only be stated as a hypothesis: that Today's Farrington area, where Charterhouse Square is located, is a veritable graveyard for victims of the 14th century pandemic.

The next step is to find the biological origin of the Plague, for which all kinds of auxiliary sciences (archeology, microbiology, physics, history ...) are necessary. Finding it might even help you better understand current epidemics and the evolution of bacteria.

But also the study and analysis of the bones have helped to better understand how Plague victims lived, his day to day and his diet, in the years of 1300 and 1400.

Some of the results allow us to affirm that the majority of them suffered from malnutrition and 16% reached rickets; 40% grew up outside of London. The more modern ones went through some kind of violent brawl that caused damage to the upper part of their bodies, and one of them was a vegetarian (so it could be a Carthusian monk). Most of these bodies also have some sign of malformation and physical injury resulting from hard manual labor.

The cemetery was used provisionally to bury poor people, the most numerous and affected by the disease, who could not afford a solemn burial in a large cemetery.

Romantic, in the artistic sense of the word. In my adolescence both family and friends reminded me over and over that I was an inveterate humanist, as I spent time doing what perhaps others not so much, believing myself to be Bécquer, immersed in my own artistic fantasies, in books and movies, constantly wanting to travel and explore the world, admired for my historical past and for the wonderful productions of the human being. That is why I decided to study History and combine it with Art History, because it seemed to me the most appropriate way to carry out the skills and passions that characterize me: reading, writing, traveling, researching, knowing, making known, educating. Disclosure is another of my motivations, because I understand that there is no word that has real value if it is not because it has been transmitted effectively. And with this, I am determined that everything I do in my life has an educational purpose.


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