Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/16/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

DNA in bones could answer perplexing historical questions

Laid underneath busy London walkways for centuries, a group of recently unearthed skeletons may soon give researchers answers about life during the Great Plague. Concealed by thousands of tons of earth and rubble, the DNA within the nine sets of remains would unlock a mystery that has baffled and divided medical minds for generations: what caused the Black Death in 1348?

The skeletons will be reburied on the site or at a cemetery after the analysis is complete.

The skeletons will be reburied on the site or at a cemetery after the analysis is complete.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/16/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: London, skeletons, Bubonic Plague, DNA analysis


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The skeletons were discovered during excavation work for the Ł14.8 billion Crossrail project, currently carving a subterranean path across London.
 
The human remains were more than eight feet below a road between Farringdon and Barbican Tube stations, leading some online humorists to suggest they probably died waiting for a Circle Line train.

The bodies, in fact are believed to have been among the 1.5 million Britons who died when the plague swept through Europe. During the time of the Great Pestilence, emergency mass graves were dug. Contrary to what was believed, the corpses were not simply thrown in, but men and women were placed side by side in uniform rows, often with hands folded across the torso.

A similar skeleton formation was found in the 1980s at nearby Smithfield, and as many as 50,000 might have been buried in the area over three years.

"This is a highly significant discovery and at the moment we are left with many questions that we hope to answer," Crossrail lead archaeologist Jay Carver said.

"We will be undertaking scientific tests on the skeletons to establish their cause of death, whether they were plague victims from the 14th century or later residents, how old they were and perhaps evidence of who they were.

"However, at this early stage all points towards this being part of the 14th-century emergency burial ground."

Around a third of the population of Britain died in the Black Death. Estimates of how many perished in Europe and elsewhere vary between 25 million and 200 million, making it the most destructive pandemic in human history.

DNA analysis of European victims has suggested that the Yersinia pestis bacterium was responsible, but many scientists believe the infection was a rapidly-spreading virus.

DNA experts are working with archaeologists at the Farringdon site to try to identify the exact cause from bone samples. The skeletons will be reburied on the site or at a cemetery after the analysis is complete.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Europe

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Marriage is God's creation - Church cannot change that Watch

Image of A push for

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

Dissenting Catholic groups have called for gay marriage to be recognized as a sacrament, but Catholic theology has a clear priority: marriage is God's creation - and not even the Church can change that. Washington D.C.  (CNA/EWTN News) - Dr. John Grabowski, ... continue reading


NO MORE SISTERS: Lack of new, younger nuns forces sisters to leave elder care home Watch

Image of Sister Joseph, the Mother Provincial for the order said the decision to leave had been a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Little Sisters of the Poor have attended to needs of the elderly at the Wellburn Care Home in Dundee for more than 150 years. A lack of younger nuns has now forced the remaining seven sisters, all in their seventies, to continue their work elsewhere. The ... continue reading


Vatican withdraws support of 'questionable' anti-human trafficking initiative Watch

Image of It has been noticed in recent days that the Global Freedom Network's representative from the Holy See, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, had left the group's executive board.

By CNA/EWTN News

Faithful to its commitment against human trafficking, the Holy See has left the board of an initiative it helped to found, as questions have been raised around both its effectiveness and its chair's possible use of the Pope to raise funds. Vatican City ... continue reading


Romans not enthusiastic over Pope Francis' declaration of a Jubilee Year in Rome Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Jubilee Year was officially declared by Pope Francis in Rome, as it expected for millions of pilgrims to gather around the city to observe the celebration. However, Romans are less enthusiastic and more worried, as Rome is in crisis following the discovery of ... continue reading


French locals not happy about King Salman of Saudi Arabia's three-week Riviera vacation Watch

Image of King Salman visits the Riviera Beach in France together with 1,000 of his entourage.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman was scheduled to arrive in France Friday for a holiday trip at the Riviera Beach. The King was expected to arrive together with 1,000 of his entourage. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - King Salman's visit was ... continue reading


Islamic State may use store-bought drones to launch terror attacks at British sporting events Watch

Image of ISIS could easily get its hands on cheap drones, with more than 127,000 being bought and sold on online auction site eBay in the last year alone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drones, unmanned aerial devices that can now be commercially purchased by civilians, may be used by Islamist State for terrorist attacks at British sporting events. The sick terror group would use the devices to drop explosives on to playing fields, and use the ... continue reading


New financial rules reveal Vatican had a billion euros off the books Watch

Image of The statements were prepared by the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, the Vatican's budget management office.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Holy See reports €1 billion in net assets never before reported, and in a consolidated form. This was part of the revelations that came under new reporting procedures more in line with international accounting standards. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Romans lose hope for city, fear mayor is too weak to conquer political scandals Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Arrests of powerful political figures in Rome continuously add up. After discoveries of corruption and mafia linkages, Romans feel more burdened over their falling apart home. Although the current mayor proved to be free from any criminal accusations linked to ... continue reading


Horrific female genital mutilation becomes shocking factor in many areas of England Watch

Image of Despite there being a lot of cases against FGM in England, there have been no prosecutions.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Due to mass immigration, female genital mutilation (FGM) has made its way to the United Kingdom. Female genital mutilation is the practice of cutting off a girl's clitoris and labia before stitching up the vulva. According to recent reports, this damaging practice is ... continue reading


Quran manuscript, at 1,500 years old, may be the oldest one discovered to date Watch

Image of The leaves of parchment date back to A.D. 568 and A.D. 645.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After initiating radiocarbon dating, measuring the age of the parchments organic materials, researchers are confident they have found the oldest surviving copies of the Quran. University of Birmingham scholars in the United Kingdom say the parchment was produced within ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Numbers 11:4-15
4 The rabble who had joined the people were feeling ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
12 So I left them to their stubborn selves, to follow ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:13-21
13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Lydia Purpuraria
August 3: Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter