Human remains have been discovered in an exploratory borehole close to the planned Farringdon Crossrail station in central London, halting construction.
“We found a body — or at least some human bones — last week,” said a Crossrail spokesman. “The Museum of London has taken it away to see how old it is. They think it could be 200 to 300 years old. They are also being tested for contamination by the Health Protection Agency at Porton Down. They probably came from the former burial ground at St Sepulcher’s Church, which had a workhouse attached to it.”
Anthrax can lie dormant in spore form for centuries, but if disturbed it can spread through the air. When the Metropolitan Line was dug in the mid 19th century anthrax spores were released, killing several people. The bacteria that causes bubonic plague may also survive, and dealing with ancient remains is an occupational hazard for projects in the City.