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Posted: about 1 year ago
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Dr Don Walker
Museum of London Archaeology Service
“Peeking into the past: a glimpse of the Black Death at Smithfield”

Recent advances in the retrieval and sequencing of ancient DNA from archaeological human bone have coincided with major infrastructure projects in London. As part of the works for Crossrail, MOLA were contracted excavate areas recorded as containing plague burials. This included the rare opportunity to investigate a Black Death cemetery at Charterhouse in Islington during the sinking of a grout shaft in 2013. Though the site of the cemetery was well known, the project produced some unexpected results. A co-ordinated programme of external scientific research enhanced the results of the osteological analysis of the burial sample, enhancing the level of information recovered from the cemetery and producing osteobiographies of the individuals buried there.

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