Forensic Geophysics team helps solve 660 year old mystery

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Posted on 07 April 2014

blackdeath study team A Geophysics team from Keele has helped London Crossrail in their investigations into the burial of Black Death victims from the great pandemic of the 14th Century.

Records say thousands of Londoners perished and their corpses were dumped in a mass grave outside the City, but its exact location was a mystery. But skeletons unearthed during London Crossrail excavations have been confirmed as Black Death victims and now archaeologists believe the grave is under Charterhouse Square near the Barbican. In a bid to understand just how far the grave extended across the square, Crossrail approached Keele to undertake a forensic geophysics survey - using ground-penetrating radar.
Dr Jamie Pringle, said: "We found significant numbers of buried objects in parts of the square which look to be similar to the graves found by Crossrail. We have also found the eastern edge of the burial pit in the square by resistivity methods. This is one of the oldest mass burials found by geophysical methods anywhere."
Crossrail's lead archaeologist, Jay Carver, says the find "solves a 660-year-old mystery."