Last month Crossrail workers discovered 5,000 human remains in a burial ground in Liverpool Street. Now there are 3,000 more.
For the next four weeks, archaeologists at the Bedlam burial ground will be excavating the skeletons of a further 3,000 people discovered at the Liverpool Street site.
The remains date from 1569 to 1738, meaning that these are the bodies of people who lived through the start of the British Empire, the Great Fire of London, civil wars, Shakespeare’s plays, and plenty of plague outbreaks. Not all of them though, unless they had crazily long life spans that we didn’t know about.
This year is the 350th anniversary of London’s last Great Plague, which happened back in 1665, and tests which will be carried out on the remains of the victims should help to uncover the evolution of the plague bacteria strain. And that’s not all. The research should also tell us more about ancient Londoners’ lifestyles, migration patterns and diets. Have Londoners always been obsessed with a good coffee? Probably.
Sixty archaeologists have started work on carefully removing the skeletons from the site so that Crossrail can continue constructing the eastern entrance of the new Liverpool Street station. Once the remains have been examined they’ll be reburied on sacred ground.
There’s also a Roman road running underneath the site. We’re hoping to pop over and take a first-hand look, so keep your eyes peeled for more updates!