1. ITV Report

'Black Death' skeletons reveal how Medieval Londoners lived

When 25 skeletons were uncovered during the construction of Crossrail last year, archaeologists set about discovering the importance of the burial ground.

Today the team of scientists have revealed their preliminary findings about the 13 men and 3 women and 2 children who it's thought died during London's Black Death plague.

7 unidentifiable remains were also found at the site under Charterhouse Square in Farringdon.

Experts said the discovery of the skeletons was "significant", revealing that thousands more bodies could have been laid to rest in a mass grave in the area - which at the time was outside the city's boundaries.

Part of one of the skeletons discovered during construction Credit: ITV News

Carbon dating techniques showed 3 separate "phases" of burials - coinciding with outbreaks of the plague in the capital during the 14th and 15th centuries.

Experts said that all of the signs point to the site being used as a Black Death burial ground.

Notably, only 6 out of 10 bodies analysed were actually born and bred in London. Four had come from further afield - presumably seeking work in the Capital.

Some of the other key findings included:

  • Many of the bodies showed signs of poor health
  • They also showed signs of having jobs that involved heavy manual labour as experts noted a high rate of back damage and strain
  • One of the bodies could have been that of a monk - after showing signs of vegetarianism in later life, which is something a Carthusian monk would have done during the 14th century
  • Others showed signs of malnutrition and childhood diseases such as rickets

Since the Crossrail project began more than 10,000 items of archaeological interest have been uncovered,