Author believes rats didn't cause 14th century plague

A lack of "great heaps of dead rats in all the waterfront sites" has led The Black Death in London author Barney Sloane to conclude that the rodents were not the cause of plague in 14th century England. "The evidence just isn't there to support it," he said.

Sloane once served as a field archaeologist with the Museum of London, and he believes that the plague was larger and moved faster than previously believed, destroying up to two thirds of the population of London. In addition to archaeological evidence, he studied documents including wills and tax records.

Rats were not the culprits, says Sloane, because the disease spread quicly during the winter when fleas from the rats could not have survived.