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British rail project uncovers bodies from plague period

Saturday, 16 March 2013 - 12:48pm IST | Place: London | Agency: IANS
DNA analyses made on the human remains could provide valuable information on the rise of the bacteria that grew into the epidemic known as the Black Death, which killed more than 25 million people in Europe and was at its most deadly between 1347 and 1353.

Excavations for a railroad line in London have uncovered the remains of 13 bodies and ceramics that appear to date back to the mid-14th century when the bubonic plague ravaged Britain, the BBC reported.

It has long been known that a cemetery once existed in the area, but its exact location was a mystery.

The skeletons and ceramics were found in Charterhouse Square during excavations carried out for Crossrail, a high-speed passenger rail line.

DNA analyses made on the human remains could provide valuable information on the rise of the bacteria that grew into the epidemic known as the Black Death, which killed more than 25 million people in Europe and was at its most deadly between 1347 and 1353.

The way that the bodies were laid in two orderly rows suggests they were buried when the scourge first broke out and before it turned into the pandemic that years later led to thousands of bodies being piled up in mass graves.

Archaeologists working on the Crossrail project and others for the Museum of London Archaeology will continue digging to discover more remains and other discoveries, according to the BBC.

"We've found archaeology from pretty much all periods - from the very ancient prehistoric right up to a 20th-century industrial site, but this site is probably the most important medieval site we've got," Crossrail project archaeologist Jay Carver told the broadcaster.




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