Saturday, 17 October 2015

Gresham College Lecture: Mass Burials from St Mary Spital, London

Last Monday saw a particularly interesting lecture from London's Gresham College exploring burials at St Mary Spital in East London. Development has permitted investigation which uncovered a large number of emergency mass burial pits from the mid-13th century.

In looking for the reason for those mass burials they explored contemporary documentary evidence and found:
1258 “the north wind prevailed for several months, and when April, May, and great part of June were over, scarcely a small rare flower or shooting germ appeared, whence the hope of harvest was uncertain”
This is a hint of a volcanic event, just as the 1816 Year Without a Summer resulted from the 1815 eruption of the Tambora volcano.

Evidence is the mid-13th century event was due to eruption of the Samalas volcano in Indonesia with twice the emissions of Tambora.

Access the video, transcript and PowerPoint slides.

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