October 23 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 13°C

Five-day forecast

Amateur archeologists dig up ancient black death burial ground in Clerkenwell

Volunteers hard at work Volunteers hard at work

Thursday, July 24, 2014
12:04 PM

Amateur archeologists digging up an ancient burial ground where victims of the black death were laid to rest may have found evidence of a 600-year-old monastery.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

A total of 25 plague victims were dug up at the site in Charterhouse Square, Clerkenwell, last year during work for the Crossrail project, but experts believe there could be more skeletons in the mass grave.

The new dig is to uncover evidence of a Carthusian monastery built in the 1400s to pray for victims of the bubonic plague, which killed 100million as it swept across Europe, and 90 volunteers were picked to help the team.

Nick Elsdon, from Museum of London Archaeology who is managing the project, said: “What we have found here is a medieval surface.

“What we can’t tell is whether it’s a courtyard or just a path.

“There is a good chance the kitchens and grounds are somewhere nearby. Because the Carthusians were vegetarians the meat kitchens were outside the monastery.

“We know it’s somewhere in the square but unfortunately we don’t know where.”

Maps from the 1600s clearly show a building in the square, while a team from Keele University have used radar imagery to detect possible remains several feet below the current surface.

“We wanted to dig in slightly different position,” said Mr Eldson. “But Islington Council wouldn’t let us because of the protected trees in the square.

“There is a chance what was detected by the radar is just demolished rubble. It’s was always an option.”

Joanna Cronin, one of the volunteers, said: “Although everything we find is fairly low key, you can’t help but be amazed by the history. I always apply for things like this but never get picked so I can’t believe how lucky we are.

Fellow digger Mary-Anne Brouckaert said: “Every single thing we touch is from the 14th century, which makes you think

’wow’. My children always play in the square and are really interested - they keep asking lots of questions.

Debbie Guiness, who has just qualified to be a Clerkenwell and Islington history guide, said: “It’s such a fascinating part of the world and it’s great to be able to learn more about it.”

The dig is scheduled to end on Saturday.

Share this article

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Islington Gazette on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Islington businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Islington Gazette, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Celebrity / Showbiz See all

Drake has cancelled his Wireless London performance (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for ESPN)

Fans devastated after Drake cancels Wireless London festival

Rapper Drake has pulled out of his headline appearances at this weekend’s Wireless Festival in London, leaving fans devastated.

Read full story »