Remains dug from Japan mass grave suggest epidemic in 1800s

Remains of more than 1,500 young people found in a mass grave from the late 1800s. A similar site nearby found lesions on their limbs, suggesting they were victims of an epidemic.

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World News

August 26, 2020 - 9:14 AM

TOKYO (AP) — Archaeologists have dug up the remains of more than 1,500 people, many of them believed to have died in an epidemic, buried in a 19th century mass grave while excavating as part of a city development project in Osaka in western Japan. 

Officials at the Osaka City Cultural Properties Association studying the remains said Wednesday that they believe they are of young people who died in the late 1800s.

The Umeda Grave, one of seven historical burial sites in Japan’s bustling merchant city of Osaka, was unearthed as part of a redevelopment project near a main train station. The more than 1,500 remains were found during the latest round of excavation that started in September 2019, following an earlier 2016-2017 study that dug up hundreds of similar remains at adjacent locations, according to Yoji Hirata, an official at the association. 

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