Archaeology Magazine

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Numerous Children Unearthed in English Graveyard

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blackburn England Coins BLACKBURN, ENGLAND—Archaeologists have uncovered around 800 bodies belonging to children younger than six years old at a future road construction site in Lancashire. They are among 1,967 bodies unearthed at St. Peter’s Burial Ground in Blackburn, which was first used in 1821. Bodies have been removed from around a third of the graveyard, which saw a great deal of use up to the 1860s. The high proportion of children in the graveyard is attributed to poor sanitation and medical care at the time. Analysis of the skeletons has only just begun, but according to Dave Henderson of Headland Archaeology, many of the children are likely to have died due to infection. “They would have died quite quickly so the signs may not turn up in their skeletons,” he told the BBC. Coins dating to the nineteenth century have also been found, as well as inexpensive brass wedding rings still on people’s hands and glass jewelry buried with children. Some burials continued at the graveyard until 1945, but St. Peter’s Church grew run-down in the twentieth century and was razed in 1976. For more on nineteenth-century English graveyards, go to “Haunt of the Resurrection Men.”

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