Senior Content Editor@urbanbeautyxo London's Crossrail archaeological project has brought experts closer to understanding the Black Death, a plague that hit during the 14th and 15th centuries. More than a third of Britain's population perished as a result. During a recent excavation in Farringdon, skeletons of 13 people, including two children, were found under Charterhouse Square. The location may have been one of the two emergency burial sites recorded in historical documents. The first site has been found, but this one remained a mystery until now. The skeletons appear to have succumbed to different outbreaks; the Black Death hit England twice in the 14th century, and a third plague took lives in the 15th century. Carbon dating showed that those found at the bottom of the burial site were buried during the first outbreak of the Black Death, the layer above were buried during the second, and the final layer during the third plague. The victims were determined to be members of the working class, based on indications of poor health and the physical results of manual labor. “The skeletons discovered at Crossrail's Farringdon site provide a rare opportunity for us to study the medieval population of London that experienced the Black Death," Museum of London Archaeology Osteologist Don Walker said. “We can start to answer questions like: where did they come from and what were their lives like?" The lead archaeologist for the Crossrail project, Jay Carver, said that this is the first time they've uncovered a burial ground for both the Black Death and a plague that followed it. More than likely, thousands of undiscovered skeletons are buried in the same area. An excavation project this summer will determine just how many there are.
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