Grisly Find: 2,000 Bodies Discovered in Berlin Medieval Cemetery

Archaelogists have made a grisly, fascinating discovery in central Berlin -- a giant medieval graveyard containing 2,000 corpses, many of them children.

A skeleton dating from the 14th century, one of 2,000 uncovered in a medieval graveyard in central Berlin.

A skeleton dating from the 14th century, one of 2,000 uncovered in a medieval graveyard in central Berlin.

Archaelogists in Berlin have uncovered 2,000 skeletons in a huge medieval cemetery near the city center since they started examining the site in March 2007.

The site was found during construction work in Petriplatz square. A large number of the skeletons are of children, a sign of their high mortality rate in the Middle Ages.

The bodies are being examined to determine the sex, age at death and possible disease, and they will be reburied at a different location, local newspapers reported.

"These excavations show us the medieval roots of Berlin," archaeologist Matthias Wemhoff told the tabloid Bild newspaper. The graveyard dates back to around 1230, when the Petrikirche church was built. The church, badly damaged in World War II, was torn down in 1964.

Archaelogists have found medieval wells, cellars and a wealth of artifacts such as combs, pots, tools, coins and bottles.

Regula Löscher, head of public construction in the Berlin city government, said part of the site will be preserved and made accessible to the public, and that plans to build new shops and offices in the area will be revised accordingly.


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