PLAGUE PIT FOUND: Dozens of child skeletons unearthed in rare mass grave discovery

The extremely rare discovery suggests the community was overwhelmed by the Black Death, according to researchers investigating the site of a 14th-century monastery hospital at Thornton Abbey, Lincolnshire.

Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield found 48 skeletons at the extremely rare Black Death plague pit.

The Black Death was one of the worst pandemics in human history, devastating European populations from 1346-1353 and resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people.

The presence of such a large burial site, containing both male and female adults, suggests the local community was overwhelmed by the Black Death and was left unable to cope with the number of people who died.

Dr Hugh Willmott, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology, who has been working on the excavation site since 2011, directed the excavations and explained the find is of national importance.

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