Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Barcelona's Black Death Victims

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

barcelona-black-death-graveBARCELONA, SPAIN—According to a report in El Pais, excavations under the Basilica of Sant Just i Pastor in the heart of Barcelona have uncovered 120 bodies in a mass grave under the sacristy that researchers believe are evidence of the Black Death. The mass burial dates to the height of the epidemic, between 1348 and 1375, and is the first such site discovered in Spain. Thus the discovery may be very important to further understanding the spread of a disease that killed as many as 30 million people in Europe, as well as the way cities handled the massive influx of bodies. In cities like London, new cemeteries were built to bury the tremendous numbers of dead, but this find is evidence that in Spain space may have been found in existing church graveyards.