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Another week, another interesting corpse

That’s what I love about Britain — scratch the surface, find an interesting corpse. Or, in this case, dig down eight feet and find fifty thousand plague riddled corpses.

Yes! The Crossrail Project has dug up a plague pit! Well, they think so. They’ve only uncovered thirteen bodies so far, but if it’s the one they’re thinking of (really, they have so many 14th C plague pits to keep track of. What’s a capital city to do?) there are as many as 50,000 bodies to go.

Eight feet down. That really doesn’t seem good enough, does it? It’s in a part of the city that has seen relatively little development (no skyscrapers or anything), which is how it’s remained lost for so long.

It was all over the news tonight. Plague doesn’t survive long in the soil, but they think they may be able to isolate some Yersinia pestis specimens in the tooth dentin. Which doesn’t strike me as very bright, even if they do manage to sequence its genome.

This isn’t the first cemetery this rail project has accidentally dug up. They also unearthed three hundred former guests at Bedlam. Oh, and not long after construction dug up Richard III in a parking lot in Leicester, they’ve dug up a knight in a parking lot in Edinburgh.

It’s like some really twisted game show.

Have a good weekend! Sweet dreams, and don’t dig any holes!


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: March 15, 2013, 11:52 pm

Sounds like a good night to watch Quatermas and the Pit…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 15, 2013, 11:55 pm

Weasel fight! Is it “capitol” city or “capital” city? Uncle B and I are at odds.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: March 15, 2013, 11:56 pm

When we were on vacation in Greece several years ago, we hired a private driver to tale us hither and yon. Really, it’s the only way to see the country since the rail sucks and the intercity buss service is great…as long as you don’t have to get anywhere on time. Anywhoo, our driver took us to dinner one night…took 2 hours to get to this hole in the wall and 2 hours back. Would have been only 20 min but as a construction crew was digging, they came upon a massive arena. Shut down that construction and every bit of space around it….hence the 2 hour detour. BTW the food at the hole in the wall was to.die.for. But really, when you’re in country that has been settled for millennia, how do you not come across this kind of stuff?

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: March 15, 2013, 11:56 pm

Sound kinda like Poltergeist with all the corpses rising.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: March 16, 2013, 12:00 am

Oh, and I learned Capitol is a building, capital is what the fucktards in the building spend

Comment from dissent555
Time: March 16, 2013, 12:24 am

What, is there a calcium shortage in Britain or something that they keep digging up teh bones? Soylent White is made of people !! [um, really, really old people].

And speaking of digging up holes (via Maetenloch @ AoSHQ) –

Comment from Stephen Falken
Time: March 16, 2013, 2:39 am

Whew, for a second there I thought I was late for a new dead pool.

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 16, 2013, 2:41 am

Yersinia p. doesn’t caused the symptoms described.
Plague pits are fun

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 16, 2013, 2:45 am

There are other pits at Tudor, New Gate, QV, Temple and Greys Rd.
They didn’t drag the bodies far.
My family got out of London in advance of the first wave and settled at Hawkhurst for several generations.
Those that stayed in old London town died, and many wouldn’t leave.

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 16, 2013, 2:58 am

Check out the prices at Charthouse restaurant!
99 pound for a bottle?
Dear God!

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: March 16, 2013, 7:02 am

The second link in the post is broken: it ends with “…/14th-century-burial-ground-discovered-in-london%20target=”

The part after “-london” should be removed. Then it works fine.

Comment from p2
Time: March 16, 2013, 7:14 am

Bring out yer dead!!!

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 16, 2013, 9:24 am


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 16, 2013, 11:09 am

Good catch, Rich. Actually, what was missing was a ” after london. Target is part of target=”_blank” which is what makes a link open in a new window. Some people hate that, some people love it. I like it when used sparingly.

Hawkhurst! Good lord, Oceania, we go to Hawkhurst all the time. Best Chinese restaurant in the area. You want we should look anything up for you?

I’m thinking this explains the Hawkhurst Gang.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 16, 2013, 11:13 am

Oceania’s YouTube link, by the way, goes to a History Channel program on the Black Death. So, kosher if you’re interested.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 16, 2013, 1:29 pm

When I was a lad we were told that when the train on London Underground’s Northern Line suddenly veers in one direction or another, it is because the navvies, when digging the tunnels had had hit a plague pit.

Given the number of the damned things it’s quite believable!

And I can’t say I was all that impressed by the chipper little specialist who appeared on TV last night holding one of the retrieved skulls while she trilled about how it might be possible for her and her team to extract plague DNA from the teeth.

Sooner or later…

Still, so long as it only wipes-out Croydon.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 16, 2013, 2:25 pm

Capital is correct, in this context. Capitol is from the Latin Capitoline, the name of a hill in Rome. So Rome has (or had) a capitol[ium], & us ‘Murcans used the term for our own roman-architecture buildings. We’re silly like that.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 16, 2013, 3:49 pm

Noted, and changed.

I hate it when he’s right.

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 16, 2013, 11:56 pm

It is the assumption that it was the baccilus Y. pesti that is the ‘assumption’. A deadly one at that.
We’ve always speculated that it was a negative strand RNA virus … hence with the short life time of a haemorrahgic virus of this type … little genetic evidence will remain. Although there are plenty of others that could do the same.
Certainly Y. pesti genome fragments would seal it – but they have not been found.

Comment from beasn
Time: March 17, 2013, 12:01 am

bubonic plague or hemorrhaghic?

So many succumbed quickly. But what about those that survived? How?

Speaking of which, will you be keeping your leg, oceania?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2013, 12:33 am

I thought they had managed to identify Y. pestis from a corpse in a plague pit. Fairly recently. I remember being disappointed, because I had enjoyed the speculation.

But perhaps I misread and they’re still just hoping…

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 17, 2013, 1:12 am

Oh my plague?
I’m on cipro, augmentin with clavulonic acid, flucloxacillin, some vancomycin and I believe after dinner I may receive a shot in the arse of ceftrioxane with the possibility of a nightcap (if I am lucky) of some rifampin!

Vancomycin is apparently treated as a class A drug in NZ (up there with cocaine I believe) without a prescription. However given the poor quality of the health care system here, the inability to access it and the ongoing incompetence … I would raher be up on charges than dead.

I do like the ceftrioxane. It comes in nice little vials, you add 7 ml of distilled or milliQ water, shake, draw back through the syringe and then suck in another 2 ml of lidocaine …. don’t leave out the lido … or you will be hoping around screaming for a while. I’ve completely drained my local GP of it. Great stuff! One shot will take care of gonnorhea and her sister chalmydia … permanently.

Oh the bug?
Currently is unidentified. It will not culture, under any circumstances, but regularly infects lure sites and causes them to tissue. Infected 3 weeks after still … but ost of my defecent arm veins are infected or collapsed.
It has sort of stopped eating out the sub dermal tissues – for now – but looks like a giant fairy ring, with the inner contents sunken and reddened …. no ulcerations yet – but waiting for that experience.
It runs from the bottom of my right ankle up to my thigh.
I’m planning to order a consignment of Zyvov from Hawaii shortly … as I’m running out of antibotics, and given the hit and total miss approach of the bug identification …. well – kill or cure?

As you can understand, this is week 7, and the infectious disease people (took 6 weeks to first see them) don’t want to admit me, nor does the hospital really want to identify it, or given vancomycin, as it means they have a new superbug …. and have to record that ….

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 17, 2013, 2:57 am

Oceania been mussing with our friend Крокодил, I suspect.

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 17, 2013, 3:23 am

But you only have alligators, and they make lovely handbags

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: March 17, 2013, 4:27 am

oceania. catch a flight to a non-socialist country. then walk into the nearest hospital and ask to be treated. In the US, you MUST be treated whether you can pay or not. Or even be here legally.

As I said before, this is what the elitists do. You’re just as good, even if you’ve been brought up not to believe it.

Do it fast tho. Obamacare is on its way…..

Comment from beasn
Time: March 17, 2013, 5:59 am

After flying to a large teaching hospital, state side, contact your own media people and tell them all about it and where you’ve been walking around…. touching things…

Comment from beasn
Time: March 17, 2013, 6:04 am

You probably need your drugs in a 24/7 I.V. for several weeks.

Were you working on superbugs when you caught it?

Comment from beasn
Time: March 17, 2013, 6:08 am

Back to the black death….what was it about the survivors, that they did not catch it? Genetics, hygiene, lots of booze, avoidance of water?

Comment from Pablo
Time: March 17, 2013, 9:01 am

Jesus, Stoaty, you got outspelled by a limey?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2013, 12:42 pm

Oh, it’s terrible, Pablo. Not only is he right, but he gets to tell me so in that goddamn BBC announcer voice.

“This is Alistair Cooke for Masterpiece Theater, and you are pwned, Stoaty!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2013, 12:43 pm

Oh, and as for the Black Death…I don’t think any infectious disease approaches 100% mortality. The Plague was extraordinary in the percentage it killed. IOW, it’s not that anybody survived, it’s that so many died.

Comment from Clifford Scridlow
Time: March 17, 2013, 3:21 pm

Hmm. . . With a name like “Black Death”, what would one expect?

Comment from Deborah
Time: March 17, 2013, 5:36 pm

The teeth in that skull look nicer than average (for a centuries old skull) but then the skull is on the small side.

Re: the knight’s grave. It was awfully shallow, even with a full-length stone on the top to protect it. Seems unusual.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 17, 2013, 5:58 pm

The funny thing is, we think Alistair Cooke went native. To us he sounds like he has an American accent.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2013, 7:09 pm

Also, his body was snatched for illegal bone transplants. And he died of bone cancer.

Remember that? Horrible story.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 17, 2013, 7:13 pm

“This is yer ol’ buddy Alistur Cuk fer Masterpiece Thitter, & Ah’ll be danged, but yew ain’t a’tall right.”

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: March 17, 2013, 7:45 pm

Yep, Alistair Cooke was “parted out” as they say in the junkyard industry. 3D printers can’t come fast enough to medicine.

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 17, 2013, 11:30 pm

We were doing 3D cell printing back in 2004.
There is a nice polymer out that is liquid at 24C and solid at 37C … hence you dope it with stimulatory factors and matrix components – and vola!
Throw your cell construct back in the incubator and bingo – solidifies …

We gave up on 3D printing when we realised we had a unique tissue source down the road from Captain Cooks pigs …. remove the cells, add your cells … and bingo – the matrix conforms the cells to give the semi-correct transitionary influence ….. mesenchymal transition 101. Why recreate nature – when you can use it?

Comment from ed
Time: March 18, 2013, 12:19 am

“Sounds like a good night to watch Quatermas and the Pit…”

Sounds like a good opportunity to watch (again) “Flesh and Blood” with Rutger Hauer.

Comment from Some Skeleton
Time: March 18, 2013, 3:37 am

I see your skeleton and raise you another skeleton


Comment from Oceania
Time: March 18, 2013, 9:45 am

ne nada krocodil!

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: March 18, 2013, 5:09 pm

I wonder how long Yersinia pestis can live without somebody to feed on?

Comment from mojo
Time: March 18, 2013, 6:35 pm

Try “Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis.

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 19, 2013, 12:48 am

Technically, prokaryotes can be crystaliised .. along with viruses. however in this particular case i believe that they are *probably* long gone. Y pesti does not live long exposed to other flora in the soil …. its ability is to subvert the human immune system, and become fruitful.

As for viruses, yet again.

It would be interesting to sequence the genomes of the victims …. one would get lots of interesting information.

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 19, 2013, 12:49 am

Although there is that famous case of the knights preserved fresh pink in a lead coffin under some villages road for a 1000 years …. who knows?

Comment from Eleonor Wechter
Time: April 10, 2013, 3:40 am

Hey! I understand this is somewhat off-topic however I needed to ask. Does building a well-established blog such as yours require a massive amount work? I’m brand new to running a blog however I do write in my diary daily. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my own experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

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