Whenever new roads are built or railways are extended it is common practice for the construction companies involved to collaborate with archaeologists. Archaeologists are called in to assess the ground for any relics or sign of historical interest before the land is finally covered up.
The London Crossrail project is one such construction development which has demanded a developer/archaeology alliance. It is a good job the archaeologists were called in as this huge rail connection project is starting to make some extremely interesting historical finds.
In the early autumn this year, an archaeological discovery in London saw almost 200 Roman skulls found when tunnelling along the Crossrail route. The skulls are believed to date from the third or fourth centuries. Roman pottery was also found amongst the skulls not far from the Liverpool Street site. As the Romans used to cremate their dead before the third century AD the archaeologists are almost certain of which period of Roman occupation the skulls come from.
The remains were found in the deposits of the ancient Walbrook River which was paved over in the 15th century. The river’s muddy walls provided the ideal preservation environment for ancient bones and artefacts. Over the last year some 10,000 Roman pieces have been found at the site.
As this part of the skeleton floats much easier than other bones, it is believed that the skulls were washed down stream ending up the furthest away from the original burial site.
“Their location in the Roman layer indicates they were possibly washed down river during the Roman period,” Jay Carver, lead archaeologist on the Crossrail project told reporters.
The Museum of London Archaeology has said that it will examine the recent finds in order to find out more about the people who died there. The archaeologists working on the project said that they expect to find many more fascinating artefacts along the Crossrail route in the coming years.
The Crossrail project will connect 37 stations from Heathrow airport and Maidenhead in the west to Abbey Hill and Shenfield in the east. The line is expected to be complete by 2018.