Crossrail completes largest archaeology programme in the UK

Crossrail has announced that it has completed the largest archaeology programme ever undertaken in the UK.

The programme was concluded with the launch of the final books of the archaeology series, which includes stories of the secrets of Mesolithic stone tool-makers, mysterious Roman skulls and victims of the Great Plague.

The construction of the Elizabeth line offered archaeologists a unique opportunity to excavate sites from nearly every significant period of London’s history.

Skull found at Liverpool Street

Roman skull found at London Liverpool Street

The analysis of tens of thousands of artefacts unearthed from more than 40 sites across London that are usually inaccessible has helped to provide a detailed picture of London’s development and the lives of people who lived and worked in the capital.

The findings explored in the three new publications include:

  • an incredibly rare snapshot of human activity 10,000 years ago, from evidence of stone-tool making in the Lower Thames floodplain
  • London’s original infrastructure project – a Roman road encircling Londinium – and the mystery of the skulls and people buried next to it
  • the bleak fortunes of London’s poor and migrant communities between the 16th and 18th century, during a time of civil war, fire and plague.

Andrew Wolstenholme, chief executive at Crossrail, said: “The Crossrail project has given archaeologists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study historically significant parts of London.

“We’ve uncovered tens of thousands of artefacts and items spanning 55 million years and pieced them together to tell the story of this vibrant city and the people who have lived and worked here for 8,000 years.”

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