The Secrets of the Mass Burials in Spitalfields with Don Walker
Sunday 14th October 2018 from 1:00 pm

In 1258 almost a third of the population of London perished under mysterious circumstances. An account from a contemporary monk relates how "the north wind prevailed for several months… scarcely a small rare flower or shooting germ appeared, whence the hope of harvest was uncertain... innumerable multitudes of poor people died.” At the time these events would have been perceived to be a punishment inflicted by God on sinful humanity. 

However scientists now believe that they were the result of the largest volcanic eruption of the past 10,000 years, which occurred somewhere in the tropics and was eight times bigger that the devastating eruption at Krakatoa in Indonesia in 1883.  An event of this magnitude would have caused a stratospheric fog that blocked out sunlight, changed atmospheric circulation patterns and reduced global temperatures by 4° C, causing crops to wither and bringing famine, pestilence and death to the whole planet. 

Osteologist Don Walker explains how the excavation of St Mary Spital in East London uncovered a large number of emergency mass burial pits, which date to the mid-13th century and may provide the first firm archaeological evidence of this previously unknown global cataclysm.

Tickets £12 including a Hendrick's Gin cocktail. Please click here to buy.

Don Walker
Don Walker is a human osteologist at the Museum of London Archaeology who records and reports on human skeletal remains from excavations in London,. He is currently investigating post-medieval burials from Marylebone, medieval burials from the nunnery of St Helens Bishopsgate, Black Death burials from West Smithfield and Roman remains from the River Walbrook. He has written a paper on medieval syphilis and an English Heritage-funded book on skeletal pathology in London. He also assists the Metropolitan Police in forensic enquiries.

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