3,000 skeletons from the 16th and 17th centuries are to be dug up from beneath London’s Liverpool Street Station.
This is the most exciting and valuable excavation site of the period in London. It’s happening due to Europe’s biggest construction project, Crossrail, connecting east and west London.
According to Crossrail’s report, they’ll dig down 120 feet, but the top 36 feet are going to be where the archeologists find artifacts and remains from the Roman to the Early Modern period. They are currently in the first week of excavations.
“This excavation presents a unique opportunity to understand the lives and deaths of 16th and 17th century Londoners,” said Jay Carver, Crossrail Lead Archaeologist, in the Crossrail report. “The Bedlam burial ground spans a fascinating phase of London’s history, including the transition from the Tudor-period City into cosmopolitan early-modern London.”
“This is probably the first time a sample of this size from this time period has been available for archaeologists to study in London. The Bedlam burial ground was used by a hugely diverse population from right across the social spectrum and from different areas of the City.”
The site says: “The Bedlam burial ground was in use from 1569 to at least 1738, spanning the start of the British Empire, civil wars, the Restoration, Shakespeare’s plays, the Great Fire of London and numerous plague outbreaks.
London’s last Great Plague was 350 years ago, in 1665, and they hope to find some plague victims and run tests to help develop a better understanding of the bacteria strain’s evolution.
Watch the video for the report.