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Human Skeletal Remains in London

Nature volume 140, pages 497498 (18 September 1937) | Download Citation



EXCAVATION work in Farringdon Street, London, E.C.4, for the foundations of an extension of the offices of the Evening Standard has brought to light a large number of human skeletal remains. About three hundred skulls and two thousand other bones have been found. It is suggested that the excavation may have opened one of the pits in which victims of the great plague of 1665 were buried indiscriminately. There were a number of these pits situated in various parts of London. One of the largest was in Tothill Fields, Westminster, near where Caxton Hall now stands ; another near Newgate was adjacent to the site of Christ's Hospital, the Bluecoat School, demolished for the extension of the Post Office, and still another was in Whitechapel. Dr. A. J. E. Cave, of the Royal College of Surgeons, who has inspected the recent finds, is of opinion, according to a statement published in the Evening Standard of September 10, that, judging from their condition, they are probably the skeletons of men, women and children who died in the seventeenth century and may well have been victims of the plague. They are all of the same type, and differ but very slightly from typical skulls mination, Dr. Cave is stated to have said that the skulls appear to have a vault a little more pointed tof to-day. Though they have not yet been submitted to an exact exahan the modern skull. It will be rtury skulemembered that Prof. F. G. Parsons some years ago examined a large number of seventeenth and eighteenth cenls of Londoners, when a graveyard, presumably of the adjacent St. Clement Danes, was discovered on the demolition of King's College Hospital in Portugal Street. He then concluded that little change had taken place in the physical characters of the Londoner during the last two or three hundred years, except that the skull showed a slight tendency to broaden.

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