A MAJOR operation is underway to exhume thousands of skeletons from an ancient burial ground in London.
The remains are being removed from the Bedlam burial ground which in the path of the new Crossrail project.
The Bedlam site — which was unearthed in Liverpool Street — was used as a cemetery for more than 150 years from 1569. People buried there included victims of the Black Death. The site is believed to have been London’s first municipal cemetery.
Reinterment in Essex
Archaeologists will now spend the next four weeks removing the remains of around 3,000 people and reinterring them at a site in Essex. The team of sixty experts will have to work six days a week in order to complete the project on time.
The site is believed to have been London’s first municipal cemetery. The archaeologist believe the excavation may prove to be one of the most informative. Some of the experts will carry out tests on the remains of plague victims which may help them understand the evolution of the Black Death.
Crossrail’s lead archaeologist, Jay Carver, has said the excavation presents what he called a “unique opportunity” to understand the lives and deaths of 16th and 17th century Londoners.
He added: “The Bedlam burial ground spans a fascinating phase of London’s history, including the transition from the Tudor-period City into cosmopolitan early-modern London.
“This is probably the first time a sample of this size from this period has been available for archaeologists to study in London.”
Picture credit: Crossrail
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