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(Yahoo)   Diggers might have found a lost burial site under London that contains bodies of some 50,000 people who were killed by the "Black Death" plague more than 650 years ago while excavating a massive new rail project. Let's hope they didn't wake them   ( news.yahoo.com) divider line
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5502 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Mar 2013 at 10:06 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-03-15 03:13:53 PM  
1 vote:
50,000 buried in one cemetary seems rather high. Yes, Paris did lose half its population, or 50,000, to the Black Death in a matter of months, but it seems unlikely that all of the dead in London were buried in the same place and I expect it was smaller than Paris at the time. Could be. I know in later plagues, the dead were buried in pits. This is not the first time that excavations have found Plague pits. And the Plague is not the only disease operating on a large scale--several diseases often combined their efforts to destroy large populations: cholera, influenza, the Plague (which comes in several sub-types such as pneumonic plague and the classic skin disease with buboes).

But I suspect that the true number is lower and that the 13 bodies buried are from another plague or an early stage of the proposed plague, because at the peak of the great plagues they just dumped bodies in mass graves because they didn't have personnel to lay them out in individual graves. There were hundreds or thousands of people dying each day of the plague during the Great Plague of London (which followed the Great Fire of London, and preceded the Great Property Boom of London).

The first outbreak of the plague in 1347 was the worst because people had no immunity and because the Norwegian rats which halted the invasion of the plague-bearing species did not play a role at that time.

Doctors knew nothing of how the plague was spread (many assumed it was air-borne or blamed cats and dogs because they died also). Even attempts to kill the rats and other animal victims of the plague wasn't a lot of help because the fleas would abandon the rats and bite the rat-catchers, whether cats, dogs or humans. The plague eventually fell to urban hygeine and the Norwegian rat. Scientists still debate whether the identified infectious agent (a protozoan) is really the culprit. In all likelihood, there were two or more agents involved in some of the great plagues because some of the symptoms don't quite match those of the plague in either its skin or lung infection forms.

Plagues often follow other disasters such as earthquakes, wars, fires, famines, etc., because the rats come out to play when their natural habitat is destroyed or damaged. Rats normally avoid humans and you might not see one where there are many. I have only seen two or three rats crossing streets in the last thirty years. They don't do it often when humans are around.
2013-03-15 12:44:45 PM  
1 vote:
Kansas City had a huge flood 1950 that wiped out some of the country's major stockyards. Flash forward to about 1970 when excavation was beginning for bridge pillars on the new I-635. They found where all the cattle had been buried. They say the engineers were unhappy.
2013-03-15 10:19:02 AM  
1 vote:

squibbits: Just don't call them "diggers" to their faces.

Attractive and successful excavation engineers?
2013-03-15 10:10:45 AM  
1 vote:
What I learned from that headline: 650 years ago 50,000 people died while excavating a massive rail project. I didn't know they even had trains back then.
2013-03-15 10:09:48 AM  
1 vote:
They had a massive rail project more than 650 years ago?  o_O
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