Whatever you think about the Crossrail project, all that digging is unearthing some old London treasures. Literally. The latest discovery is a bunch of nine thousand year old Neolithic artefacts found in south east London by the Crossrail archaeologists. Now you might not think that prehistoric Londoners were up to much, but the team in North Woolwich have discovered a ‘tool-making factory’ dating back to 7000 BC, where flint was tested and prepared to make Mesolithic hunting blades.
At Liverpool Street Station the team also have uncovered several layers of history, including the first piece of gold to be found on the project (a 16th Century gold coin pendent), a 16th Century Bedlam burial ground, Roman horse shoes, and a Roman road – with a human bone laid into it! It is thought that the bone was carried to the site by the Walbrook Thames tributary from a nearby Roman Cemetry, the resting place of 3,000 Roman skeletons. The bones aren’t the oddest finds at the cemetery though, as rare pieces of tortoiseshell and elephant teeth have also been uncovered, having being dumped by Seventeenth century craft manufacturers.
Crossrail will run 118 km (73 miles) from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. If you’re living near a site, perhaps it’s time to take up a trowel and plough up your garden in search of archaeological treasure? Kitty Knowles
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