Thousands of Roman artifacts were uncovered in a London excavation. The find has been dubbed the “Pompeii of the north” by archaeologists at the dig.
When archaeologists first started the dig six months ago, they were skeptical that they would find anything at all in the space where an ugly office block and a bar once stood.
But Sophie Jackson with the Museum of London Archaeology, which oversees the site, stated:
“We have a huge amount of stuff from the first four hundred years of London. It will tell us so much about the people of London. We will get names and addresses, things we’ve never had before. It’s really exciting.”
The three-acre Roman site has been hiding more than 8,000 artifacts for almost 2,000 years. And archaeologists believe there could be thousands more.
The artifacts include writing tablets, clothing, jewelry, pottery, and parts of buildings. Once combined and studied, the objects will help archaeologists paint a picture of what life was like in London around 40 AD.
The Roman artifacts are believed to be the most significant find in London in recent memory. The preservation of the objects is also incredible. Jackson explained, “Why the site is so incredibly important is the preservation of archaeological finds which are normally decayed, or lost or destroyed on other sites.”
Preservation kudos go to the Walbrook River, one of London’s lost waterways. The river ran under the archaeological site, providing the perfect damp conditions to preserve the objects. The excavation is part of building plans by Bloomberg, which is building its new headquarters on the site.
Demolition on Bucklersbury House, which was built in 1952, started in late 2010 and uncovered the Temple of Mithras. The temple was discovered in the 1950s, dismantled, and moved down the road. Because of this, archaeologists thought that there would be little of historical value left. But they were wrong. The newly uncovered treasure trove includes 250 leather shoes and several other items never seen before.
Sixty archaeologists are currently working on the site, and they hope to find 10,000 new objects by the time the excavation is over. Jackson added, “The site is a wonderful slice through the first four centuries of London’s existence.”
Once the excavation is complete, work on the new Bloomberg headquarters will continue. The Temple of Mithras will return as part of the building works. It will be restored to its original site with a viewing area built into the new building.
[Image via Oxyman]