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Friday 19 September 2014

Ancient finds from Crossrail scheme

Published 24/07/2014 | 17:09

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Archaeologists work in the plague burial ground in Farringdon, London, that were uncovered during building work for the Crossrail project (Crossrail)

Roman pottery and a 15th century courtyard are among the latest items discovered during work on the cross-London Crossrail scheme.

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The finds are at the site of London's 14th century Black Death burial ground in Charterhouse Square in the City of London.

The courtyard is believed to have led to a 15th century chapel or meat kitchen and has been unearthed by more than 90 local volunteers working alongside archaeologists.

The burial ground was first discovered last year. A total of 25 skeletons were uncovered which provided the first physical evidence of one of two emergency burial grounds in London established in 1348 ahead of the arrival of the Black Death to England.

Crossrail's archaeologists have undertaken extensive analysis of the skeletons, including radio carbon dating, isotope analysis and DNA analysis.

The results confirmed that the skeletons dated from the Black Death period and a later plague outbreak from the early 1500s.

The science confirmed the DNA presence of the bacteria responsible for the plague and isotope analysis provided an insight into the lives, diets and health of 14th century Londoners.

Crossrail lead archaeologist Jay Carver said: "This is an exciting opportunity for local people to be involved in unravelling the mysteries of this important archaeological site.

"We still have so many questions but every tiny piece of new evidence helps us piece together the extraordinary story of what happened here in London 600 years ago."

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