16 Mar 2013

March 16th


Teams of archaeologists have found a mammoth jaw bone and a rare piece of amber deep under London. It's hard to imagine a time when wild animals populated an area once considered the greatest city in the world.


Excavations for London's Crossrail project have unearthed bodies believed to date from the time of the Black Death. A burial ground was known to be in an area outside the City of London, but its exact location remained a mystery. From the remains, they will uncover information about the population and the individuals. In addition, the bodies may contain DNA from the bacteria responsible for the plague, helping modern epidemiologists track the development and spread of differing strains of a pathogen that still exists today.


 One of the most devastating pandemics in human history, the Black Death raged in Europe between 1348 to 1350 and killed between 75 and 200 million people. Oriental rat fleas were thought to have carried the plague on merchant ships. 

Archaeologists working for The Museum of London and Crossrail are taking every care with the test sites. The 73-mile high-speed rail link is due to open in 2018. Taken together, the project's 40 sites comprise one of the UK's largest archaeological ventures. They have found artifacts from periods ranging from the very ancient prehistoric right up to a 20th-Century industrial site.

When I first arrived in London from Australia in 1987, a huge culture shock awaited. Instead of the wide, clean streets of Adelaide, history and culture smacked me in the face. Along streets scattered with litter, and crowded with jostling people wearing the colorful costumes of every different nationality, I gazed awe-struck at the ancient architecture. I follow every new discovery into the history of London with the interest of an explorer.


  1. Hi Francene ... it is fascinating how 'life-history' is being uncovered, or refound ... like you I'm so interested and find it all fascinating.

    Coming from Adelaide to London must have been a huge shock ... when I was in South Africa - I really missed the culture and the history ...

    Cheers Hilary

  2. I love history too and especially when they uncover archeological finds like this. (I hope no one decides to do a Jurassic park thing with the black plague germs.) I read Albert Camus' The Plague when younger to find out how the disease spread, and what the people did back then. History books in the US didn't explain it well enough for a curious person like me.

    I love the architecture in the old cities of Europe. One day I'll be checking out London. Enjoyed your post.

  3. After reading your post and reading about the unearthing of Richard III, I think that going more into research would have been my choice years ago, archaeology especially. I always learn something from reading your blog. Thank you!


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