Archaeologists dig up 500-year-old mystery after finding two male Black Death victims buried hand in hand

David Harding
A skeleton of a victim of Black Plague victim (Rex)

A 500-year-old mystery has surfaced after the skeletons of two male victims of the Black Death were found hand-in-hand.

The skeletons were excavated from a plague burial ground in London.

The men were buried in a double grave, in identical positions. Their heads were both turned to the right and they were holding hands.

Experts believe the men, buried in Smithfields, died in one of the bubonic plagues that hit London following the first, and most famous, outbreak in 1348.

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However they have no idea why they were holding hands.

Archaeologist Sam Pfizenmaier, who led the excavation, said: “One possible interpretation is that they were related in some way, for example by blood or marriage.”

One theory is that the position of their hands was accidental.

They were found when archaeologists excavated a site being developed for the Crossrail project.

One of the skeletons will be displayed at the Museum of London Docklands (Rex)

Among other items found were leather and textile fragments, shoes, a horse harness and luxury imports from Spain and Italy.

One of the skeletons – along with many artefacts – will be put on display in the Museum of London Docklands until September.

The Black Death, thought to be a bubonic plague, first struck London in 1348.

Over the next 18 months, it killed as many as 40,000 people, half of London’s population


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