Archaeologists who discovered thousands of skeletons in medieval mass graves in London’s East End believe many were the victims of a 13th Century volcanic eruption on the other side of the world.
The skeletons were uncovered next to Spitalfields Market when the new Spital Square development was started 20 years ago.
Experts believed for years they were plague victims—but radiocarbon dating didn’t add up.
Now a 10-year ecological investigation by the Museum of London has discovered the likely cause to be a volcano which led to world temperatures cooling down and crops failing, resulting in mass starvation.
Some 10,500 skeletons dating from the 12th to 16th centuries were uncovered by the archaeologists, including mass burial pits which had scientists baffled because the radiocarbon dating didn’t match known events in medieval England like the Black Death or Great Famine. Read more.
A young humpback whale died of starvation while entangled in a ghost fishing net. It washed ashore near Vancouver, Canada a few days ago and locals held a funeral for the animal. Officials are trying to identify who owned the lost fishing net. You can see the tail ripped up by the net. Full story and video.
VIDEO REPORT: A UPS flight carrying 46,000 kg of life-saving UNICEF supplies has touched down in Mauritania.
Mauritania is afflicted by its worst lean season in years, part of the food crisis occurring throughout the Sahel region of Africa. Drought, rising food prices and failed harvests have left 700,000 people in Mauritania food insecure. Many children are now suffering from malnutrition, and many more are expected to be affected before the end of the lean season in late September.
Among the indicators used to determine famine conditions are when acute malnutrition rates exceed 30% and when recorded deaths are more than two per 10,000 people a day.
The governments of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger have already declared emergencies and called for international assistance.
According to figures published by the UN last week, more than 13 million people are at risk of hunger in the Sahel, with more than 10 million now considered food-insecure. More than 1 million children are at risk of severe malnutrition.
The situation in the region is being blamed on a mix of drought, high food prices and conflict.
“Germany’s Halligen Islands owe their existence to the North Sea’s tides. In the medieval era, they were larger and more plentiful, but erosion and the encroachment of sea water has greatly reduced their size over the years. Today, the few dwellings that remain are built on metre-high hills called Warften to protect them from flooding. Cattle still roam the salt meadows, but for how much longer? The islands are largely unprotected by dykes and become largely submerged when high tides strike.”
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change. "Try to understand what the author wished to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt." - John Updike
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