They’ve found everything from reindeer, bison and mammoth bones dating back 68,000 years to the remains of a moated Tudor manor house, medieval ice skates, an 800-year old piece of a ship and the foundations of an 18th-century shipyard.
Earlier this year, the dig unearthed skeletons belonging to victims of the Black Death, the plague that wiped out half of London’s population in 1348.
The latest discoveries include pieces of flint, some shaped into tiny blades, from a 9,000-year-old tool-making factory beside the Thames in what is now southeast London. It’s evidence the area was being resettled after the last Ice Age by nomadic hunter-gatherers.
At Liverpool Street, recent finds include a 16th-century Venetian gold coin with a small hole that suggests it was an early sequin, worn as decoration on the clothes of a wealthy person who probably lost it. It was found in a rubbish deposit.
Elsden and his team are especially excited to have uncovered the remains of a Roman road, studded with 2,000-year-old horseshoes – more precisely equine sandals, made of metal and fastened to the hooves with leather straps.
So many have been found that researchers suspect this must then, as now, have been a busy transit area, with horses bringing produce from the countryside to residents of what was then known as Londinium.
“Roman horseshoes, stuck in a rut of the Roman road – you’ve got this unique little snapshot,” Elsden said.
“You can see a Roman pulling his cart across the bridge. That’s a rare little glimpse into ordinary Roman life.”
Some of the archaeologists’ most delicate work involves remains from the Bedlam burial ground, established in the 16th century underneath what is now Liverpool Street as the city’s medieval church graveyards filled up.<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>