Scientists are just beginning to figure out why some viruses disappear, while others can persist and cause disease for centuries.
It was the year 1002. The English king Etelredo II contemptuously remembered as Etelredo II “the unprepared” or “the undecided”, was at war. For more than a century, Viking armies had explored their lands as a possible new home, under the leadership of leaders like Swein Forkbeard.
Up to this point, the Vikings had found English resistance tantalizingly weak. But Etelredo had decided to oppose it. On November 13, he ordered all Danes in the country to be arrested and killed.
Hundreds of people were killed and the incident went down in history as the St. Brice’s Day massacre. Etelredo’s brutal act was in vain and eventually, most of England was ruled by Forkbeard’s son.
The massacre, however, left valuable information for modern archaeologists. Over a thousand years later, 37 skeletons were discovered on the grounds of St John’s College, Oxford, believed to belong to some of the victims executed that day. Buried next to them was a secret