Medieval London graves thought to be from 14thc. may be key to mystery of Black Death

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by wfgodot, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    Medieval graves that could solve mystery of the Black Death: Twelve skeletons discovered under London street (Daily Mail)
    much more, with many pictures of skeletal remains, at link above
     
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  3. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

    One thing I do wonder about though is why they haven't found known victims before. From what I have read victims were picked up by the cart load and hastily given mass burials. So were none of those graves ever found before?
     
  4. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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  5. montana_16

    montana_16 Active Member

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    Quite frankly, I don't know about messing with this. Remember what happened when they diddled around with King Tut's Tomb......

    Oh, like some of comments after the story said , that skeleton has great teeth!
     
  6. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    Not to be proud of having for so long been a dolt about the matter, but I didn't realize there was a question about what actually caused Black Death till I read the Mail article. Perhaps I just prefer a tidier past, all questions long since settled, etc.

    London plagues 1348-1665 (museumoflondon.org.uk)
     
  7. wishuwerehere

    wishuwerehere New Member

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    You're not a dolt. According to wiki: "The results of the Haensch study have since been confirmed and amended. Based on genetic evidence derived from Black Death victims in the East Smithfield burial site in England, Schuenemann et al. in 2011 further conclude "that the Black Death in medieval Europe was caused by a variant of Y. pestis that may no longer exist."

    Just not all scientists agree.
     
  8. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    The 1665 plague is perhaps the most infamous - well, after Black Death - because it was just ending when The Great Fire of London burned much of the city in 1666. Double whammy! Comets were in the skies, end-times talk was rampant. And oh - those three sixes didn't help matters.
     
  9. 4Jacy

    4Jacy New Member

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    Please keep us informed!! tia
     
  10. athy

    athy Active Member

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    i love reading stuff like this! it's so interesting.
     
  11. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    According to an episode of DIRTY CITIES that dealt with the London plagues, these new findings suggest plague casualties were buried in a much more orderly fashion. The "mass graves" of legend may not exist in the form they have been described.
     
  12. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Count me among the dolts. I've always heard fleas from rats were the cause, even as recently as a documentary I saw last week.
     
  13. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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    I love articles like this too. Perhaps the question of "what caused it" relates to the specific strain?

    As far as no mass graves, maybe none found so far in London but there were definitely mass graves in other areas. Sheesh I read 90% of the population of Venice was wiped out, in situations like that you can be darn sure they were using mass graves especially since the were no family members to facilitate private burials!

    The island of Poveglia near Venice was the site of many plague mass graves (pic below), supposedly they were sending the victims there dead and alive and rumor has it some were buried while still alive. A very unhappy place, getting sent to that island must have been unimaginably horrifying if people were still lucid and aware. Folks that are into the macabre and ghost stories should google it.

    [​IMG]

    And on that note one of the most famous drawings from that era, The Dance of Death commemorating death and the plague outbreaks. People surely must have thought it was the "end of times".

    [​IMG]
     
  14. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    And here's the more detailed Theories of the Black Death Wiki page.

    For some reason I took it for granted that I "knew" that Rattus norvegicus (a.k.a. brown rat, common rat, street rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, brown Norway rat, Norwegian rat, wharf rat, or Big Jim down the docks rat - wait, that last isn't one) was responsible for the 1665 plague. This apparently is not so, and brown rat had somehow gotten a bad rap in my memory. ('Rattus Norvegicus' is a fine first album from 1977 by the band the Stranglers, however.) Black rat - now there was a suspect, or at least a rat of interest.

    I do recall that rats - as tiny ratlings, or whatever they are called, and also later in life - may sleep so closely in their nests that their tails can become intertwined, resulting in a knot called Rattenkönig and gave rise to notions of the folkloric "Rat king." (Wiki).
     
  15. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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    Baby rats are called "pups".
     
  16. wishuwerehere

    wishuwerehere New Member

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    Black Death - Bacterial or Viral?

    http://www.livescience.com/15826-black-death-bacteria-extinct.html

    109 bodies were examined in this study.
     
  17. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    I thought it was believed that the rise of plague in the 14th century coincided with increased trade with the Near East following the Crusades. Western Europeans had never developed a resistance to to diseases carried by Asian fleas.

    Sonya mentioned Venice, which was in those days the main port of entry of goods from from what are now Turkey, Iran and Egypt.

    Speaking of Sonya, I should have been clearer. I think everyone accepts that there had to be mass graves in London. What has been discovered more recently is that corpses weren't just laid out higgledy-piggledy (an English expression), but were actually laid to rest with some care. Nonetheless, many people were buried side by side; there simply wasn't enough manpower to dig individual graves (because the plague often killed all members of a single household).
     
  18. 21merc7

    21merc7 New Member

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    Nothing intelligent to add today, still trying not to smoke ciggies.

    However, rats are known to carry disease even today. Do NOT vacuum up the droppings if you live in one of those apartment buildings as I have. Rubber gloves and bleach water please. Today it is called Hantavirus.......................

    Mass graves are interesting and will be again in some of our countries that do not do that right now. What else are we going to do??? Have to get the bodies away as decomp attracts all the critters, including the nasties we cannot see. (Bacteria, viruses, bugs, rodents and so forth.)
     
  19. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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    Yeah I thought it was from conflict and trade with the Middle East too. Rats or body parts being catapulted or moved about, something of that nature.

    Most likely rats moving about cause folks back then didn't understand the concept of germs.
     
  20. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    You're right. They had no germ theory. As I understand it, rats can't pass bubonic plague directly to humans, but their fleas can once the rat dies.

    The general lack of sanitation in Western European cities only made matters worse.
     
  21. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Courage, my friend! I quit smoking 2.5 years ago after puffing away for 40 years. (I didn't have a choice; I was developing arterial problems.)

    But although I still smoke in my dreams, I can't tell you how much better I feel (and smell) since I quit smoking in real life.

    P.S. I asked a shrink for a "magic pill" when I prepared to quit. A smoker himself, he said there's no such thing. But statistics show greater success when users wear the patches TWICE AS LONG as the directions suggest. I think I wore patches for about five months, but I had no problem quitting and finally stopped the patches because I kept forgetting to put them on.
     

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