Italian Plague Graves Found

Italian Plague Graves Found
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A satellite image shows the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio (yellow square), in Italy's Venetian Lagoon.

More than 1,500 victims of the bubonic plague have been found the island, what may be the world's first lazaret, a disease quarantine colony.

The lazaret concept began in 1845 when a devastating plague hit Venice. Venice's government built a public hospital on Lazzaretto Vecchio to isolate the infection and curb the disease's spread.

At the time the island was named Santa Maria di Nazareth, but people also called it Nazarethum or Lazaretum. The second name prevailed and eventually gave rise to the modern word "lazaret."

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