Human skeletons can be strange, even in the most normal of positions. Ancient bones have a particular knack for dropping jaws and not just their own. Societies who lived long ago sometimes buried their dead in strange ways for reasons that defy even what the experts know of their culture. But enigmatic skeletons are not the only ones found at odd angles. Victims of feuds, murder, and failed rebellions make a tragic return, while double graves reveal people with unexpected gestures and placements.
10. Hand Holding Men
The bubonic plague that swept through London was something out of a nightmare. The 1348 wave slaughtered more than half of the population. Nearly 50,000 victims received hasty burials in Smithfield.
One grave held two men holding hands; their heads turned to look to the right. Another skull was also found with the pair. The men were aged in their 40s and arranged in identical positions, with one man’s left hand holding the right of his companion. They died sometime in the early 15th century, meaning they were born after the horrors of 1348, but since they were interred in a plague field, it appears they did not survive the later waves that continued to cull London’s citizens.
While the grave had been dug with care, no remnants of coffins or burial cloth were found. If they were placed directly in the ground, it is possible that the hand holding might be accidental. Who they were, why they faced the same way or how the older man received a defensive arm fracture remains a mystery. The extra skull appears to be from an older grave disturbed by gravediggers.