Results of Crossrail excavations in London go on display
Tens of thousands of artefacts have been dug up during work to create the 42km (26-mile) Elizabeth Line, which runs from the east to the west of the capital.
Since work began in 2009, the Crossrail project has undertaken one of the most extensive archaeological programmes in the UK, uncovering thousands of artefacts which shine a light on almost every important period of the capital’s history. With careful planning, 20 sites were excavated by archaeologists at locations where ventilation shafts were put in, where railways entered tunnels and where new ticket halls were to be built. Tunnels were dug deep beneath some of London’s busiest streets so as not to disturb important foundations, but when these tunnels reached the surface, an opportunity arose to uncover layers of London’s history. “We’ve managed to take a slice down through London but also across London,”
said Jackie Keily, the curator of the exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands.
The majority of these objects, along with thousands of records, images and plans are now part of the Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive and five hundred of the most exciting objects are going on display, exploring 8,000 years of human history and revealing the stories of Londoners ranging from Mesolithic tool makers and inhabitants of Roman Londinium to those affected by the Great Plague of 1665. Finds were discovered in locations as diverse as suburban Plumstead in the south east, through Canary Wharf, across to Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road and ending in Westbourne Park and Acton. Keily continues “It’s been an amazing project. To be able to archaeologically take a slice through London east to west is pretty amazing.”
The objects from the excavations will be on display at the Museum of London, Docklands until the 3 September 2017.
The Crossrail excavations have taken a slice of ancient London from east to west