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End of the world epidemic corpses unearthed: Ancient body disposal site dug up

Ancient burial site and body disposal system unearthed with mass grave covered with the disinfectant of ancient times, lime.
Ancient burial site and body disposal system unearthed with mass grave covered with the disinfectant of ancient times, lime.
Wikimedia Commons

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient mass burial site along with a corpse disposal system believe to have been used for the bodies of people who died from the Plague of Cyprian. This is an ancient plague that killed as many as 5,000 people a day in the city of Rome back during the time of the Roman empire from 250- to 271 A.D., reports NewsMax on June 18.

This ancient epidemic caused death in unprecedented numbers and it put its victims through horrific suffering that many thought was the end of days. The Italian Archaeological Mission to Luxor uncovered this burial site with the corpses covered in a thick layer of lime, which was a way of disinfecting the bodies during that era.

The body-disposal site consisted of a bonfire, that was used to burn the plague-infected bodies and kilns for making the lime used in the burial. Before this body-disposal site was used for the gruesome task of preparing bodies for burial, it was a monument that was built in the seventh century for a "grand steward named Harwa.

According to LiveScience, it was the pottery remains found in the kilns that allowed researchers to date this newly uncovered site. This burial site was in operation around the third century A.D., which puts it in full swing around the time of the plague.

After its use during the plague-ridden era it was abandoned, but it kept its haunting image for many centuries to come. It sat through centuries with people fearing the spot that once was used to prepared plague-infected corpses and then buried them in a mass grave. The reputation of the ground around the site held people at bay until the early 19th century.

It was in the 19th century that tomb robbers threw all caution to the wind in hopes of finding some kind of riches among the dead. They entered the complex for the first time in centuries.

This plague had the people of the third century believing it was the end of the world as they knew it. One man who lived through those days wrote his observations down for future generations. He said that the plague came with continual vomiting, diarrhea and limb rot. So many people suffering from this plague "surely signaled the end of the earth," wrote Saint Cyprian, a bishop of Carthage.

The bishop wrote:

"The kingdom of God, beloved brethren, is beginning to be at hand; the reward of life, and the rejoicing of eternal salvation, and the perpetual gladness and possession lately lost of paradise, are now coming, with the passing away of the world."

Just as folks today predict the end of the world when a series of dead birds and dead fish are found around the world, people back in ancient times did the same. You have to admit with 5,000 a day dropping dead, this would feel like the end is near. This discovery gives researchers a peak through a window back into ancient times.

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