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A London Map of the Dead

Interactive Map of London's Dead

This is not, in fact, a Google mashup that shows the migratory patterns of giant human skulls. No, it’s instead an interactive map that The Times and the Museum of London have put together to show Londoners just where the bodies are buried. From a historical and archaeological perspective, mind you. After all, there’s dead stuff all over the place there. I’m not being hyperbolic. 37,000 skeletons is a lot. And that’s not counting the 15,000 kept in the closets of London politicians. When running down examples of the skeletons that were found in the churn of buildings being torn down and new ones going up, they give this example:

Another skeleton was found with a metal spike lodged in its spine. Its owner, a man who was buried in Smithfield, East London, in about 1350, was probably hit with an arrow or spear, but the attack did not kill him. He survived only to catch bubonic plague in his late thirties or early forties.

Which just shows that in the fourteenth century, the phrase “Life is a bitch and then you die” is not accurate. Instead, fourteenth century life’s a bitch, then you get stabbed with a projectile of some sort, then your body reacts by “building bone” around the foreign object, then you press on for months or maybe years, then you catch a spot of pestilence, THEN you die.

It’s sort of like a cosmic version of “I say we scalp him, then we tattoo him, then we hang him, and then we kill him,” isn’t it?

Found via ArchaeoBlog.


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