Italian Plague Graves Found

Italian Plague Graves Found
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Skeletons of ancient plague victims lie in a grave on the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio, in the Venetian Lagoon in Italy.

The skeletons were first discovered three years ago when workers digging the foundation for Venice's archaeological museum on the eastern side of the island came across hundreds of well-preserved human skeletons.

The island, located a couple of kilometers from Venice's famed Piazza San Marco, might be the world's first lazaret, or quarantine colony.

"When plague struck the town throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, everybody sick or showing any suspect symptom were restricted on the island, until they recovered or died," Luisa Gambaro, an anthropologist of the University of Padua told National Geographic News.

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—Photograph courtesy Venice Water Authority - Consorzio Venezia Nuova Archive/Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities - NAUSICAA Archive
 
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