SAVILE SCIENCE – DON WALKER on THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF CROSSRAIL: PLAGUE IN LONDON

Crossrail, the largest construction project in Europe, has offered archaeologists the opportunity to investigate rarely seen areas of London. Fortunately for osteologists like Don, this included two burial grounds of particular interest. The first was a documented emergency Black Death cemetery in Charterhouse Square, put to use soon after the plague first entered London in November 1348. The second, the New Churchyard, was opened in 1569 following massive population growth in the capital. As episodes of plague continued to strike London, this too was used for emergency burials. The study of the skeletons from these sites tells us more about the lives of our predecessors and promises to provide important evidence on how plague, and other infectious diseases, evolved in the past.

Don is an osteologist for MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology). His job entails the study of burial samples from all periods of London’s occupation. His talk promises a fascinating insight into the history and lives of our forebears in London.

Don’s current and recent projects include work on the skeletal remains from Charterhouse and Liverpool Street as part of Crossrail; work on a JISC funded project Digitised Diseases in collaboration with the University of Bradford and the Royal College of Surgeons. Don also assists the Metropolitan Police in forensic enquiries and has featured in several television documentaries.

Chairman: Savilian Ken Allen