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London excavation heralded as 'The Pompeii of the North'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hailed as "the most important excavation ever held in London," thousands of Roman artifacts have been unearthed in an archaeological dig, most of them beautifully preserved. Coins, pottery, shoes, lucky charms and an amber Gladiator amulet which date back almost 2,000 years are just a few of the exciting discoveries that have been recently unearthed.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Experts leading the excavation have also uncovered wooden structures from the 40s A.D. around 40 feet beneath the ground. Discovered just yards from the River Thames, the site was alongside a huge building project for new offices on Queen Victoria Street in the heart of London's financial district.

"Certainly the archaeology on this project so far is probably the most important excavation ever held within London, certainly within Roman London," Sadie Watson, the site director from the Museum of London Archaeology, says. "The depth, the preservation, the extent of the archaeology - the entire Roman period is represented by fantastic buildings as well as artifacts."

The Temple of Mithras, discovered in the 1950s, the three-acre site, was also once on the banks of the River Walbrook. The area has given an unprecedented glimpse into life in the bustling center of Roman Londinium.

Archaeologists from the museum have been able to excavate the area when work to build the vast Bloomberg Place development began. Around 10,000 accessioned finds have been discovered by 60 archaeologists since then, making it the largest haul of small finds to have ever been recovered on a single excavation in the capital.

Approximately 3,500 tons of soil has been excavated by hand. More than 100 fragments of Roman writing tablets have been discovered, while 700 boxes of pottery fragments will be analyzed by specialists.

Hundreds of shoes have also been uncovered at the site and has provided the largest quantity of Roman leather to have ever been unearthed in the capital.

"The site is a wonderful slice through the first four centuries of London's existence," Sophie Jackson, from the museum says.

"The waterlogged conditions left by the Walbrook stream have given us layer upon layer of Roman timber buildings, fences and yards, all beautifully preserved and containing amazing personal items, clothes and even documents - all of which will transform our understanding of the people of Roman London."

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