The London’s plague pits map that shows where the Black Death victims got buried

Overcrowded, dirty and awash with sewage…it’s hardly surprising that the bubonic plague flourished in the crowded streets of London. Over 15% of London’s population was wiped out between 1665 and 1666 alone, or some 100,000 people in the space of two years. But where did all these bodies go?

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The Terracotta Army: history of a legendary army

On 29 March 1974, a group of farmers who were digging a water well just outside the city of Xi’an found about two meters deep a terracotta soldier the size of a real man, who seemed ready to fight, along with arrowheads and spears. That statue was the first of thousands of others, an entire army, a faithful replica of the army that had allowed the great conqueror Qin Shi Huang to unify China. Until then it was thought that his mausoleum was lost forever, but the unexpected discovery of…

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#February 18, 1966: the casket that carried assassinated President John F. Kennedy buried at sea.

Dallas, Texas, USA. The casket used to carry the body of assassinated President John F. Kennedy from Dallas to Washington was, on this day, February 18, 1966, parachuted into oblivion. In every way. The story of the coffin itself is remarkable: it was ordered from Dallas undertaker Vernon O’Neal by Secret Service agent Clint Hill when futile attempts at Parkland Hospital to save the slain President were finally abandoned. Clint Hill is the man who leapt onto the back of President’s limousine after the fatal shots were fired. When the…

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The “anomalous” burial of a child in a 5th century Umbrian cemetery

Lugnano in Teverina is a small village, located in the region of central Italy Umbria, surrounded by green hills that descend towards the valley of the Tiber river. At the beginning of the first century AD, on one of these hills, an unknown man, probably a wealthy Roman, built his villa (a complex of over 1800 square meters), which however was already in ruins around the third century. For some unknown reason, around the middle of the 15th century, when the western Roman empire was very close to its end,…

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The ancient Lycians and and their spectacular funerary culture

The ancient Lycians are probably one of the most enigmatic peoples of history, because there are not many traces of their civilization. However, what has been discovered reveals a fascinating people culturally distinct from the rest of the ancient world at the time. Today there are around twenty important sites to learn about the unusual funerary architecture of the Licyans, including the astonishing rock-cut tombs that dominate the unspoilt land of Lycia. Lycia occupied the region which is today the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of…

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Coffin technologies that protect you from being buried alive!

The fear of being buried alive is know as taphophobia, and as early as the 14th century, there are accounts of specific people being buried alive. We are in High Middle Ages, and when the tomb of philosopher John Duns Scotus was opened, his was reportedly found outside of his coffin, his hands torn up in a way that suggests he had once tried to free himself. In 17th century England, it is documented that a woman, Alice Blunden, was so knocked out after having imbibed a large quantity of…

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