A Black Plague death pit has been found in London that still haunts the city of its deadly past. Railroad workers uncovered the pit, which contained 13 skeletons stacked neatly side to side.
Archaeologists, who are still excavating the site, believe that the area has been undisturbed since the 14th century. It is one of several graves that were used to dispose bodies of those who succumbed the plague.
The discovery was made when a shaft sunk for the underpinnings of the new Crossrail link in Farringdon revealed the skeletons.
Since then, the bones have lain undisturbed just 8 feet below the surface in one of the few areas of the central London neighborhood not to have been developed over the years.
Historical records talk of a “no man’s land” established in 1348 in the Farringdon area, where some 50,000 plague victims were buried, according to a contemporary historian. Up to now the area has never been found.
The shaft sunk as part of Crossrail’s construction is located on the edge of Charterhouse Square in Farringdon, formerly the site of a monastery.
Crossrail’s lead archaeologist, Jay Carver, quoted in a company media release, said it was “a highly significant discovery,” and one that left many questions still to answer.
“We will be undertaking scientific tests on the skeletons over the coming months to establish their cause of death, whether they were plague victims from the 14th century or later London residents, how old they were and perhaps evidence of who they were,” he said.
The researchers also found pottery with the skeletons that date before 1350.