File photo: An employee poses next to a 'Second Style fresco fragment' during the press preview for the 'Life and Death Pompeii and Herculaneum' exhibition at the British Museum in central London.
File photo: An employee poses next to a 'Second Style fresco fragment' during the press preview for the 'Life and Death Pompeii and Herculaneum' exhibition at the British Museum in central London.

London office block yields big secrets

By NICK CLARK Time of article published Apr 10, 2013

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London - When archaeologists were called to a site in the City of London where an ugly office block and a bar once stood, they were sceptical that it held any secrets.

Yet six months into the dig on Bloomberg Place, a three-acre site close to Mansion House tube station, experts believe they have one of the most important finds ever for Roman London artefacts, dubbing it the “Pompeii of the north”.

Sophie Jackson, from the Museum of London Archaeology (Mola), who is managing the site said: “We have a huge amount of stuff from the first 400 years of London. It will tell us so much about the people of London. We will get names and addresses, things we've never had before. It's really exciting.”

Archaeologists have found 8 000 objects and expect that to rise to 10 000. These include writing tablets, clothing, jewellery and pottery as well as parts of buildings that will help build a picture of thriving London life from around 40 AD to the fifth century.

Ms Jackson said: “Why the site is so incredibly important is the preservation of archaeological finds which are normally decayed, or lost or destroyed on other sites.” The reason many of the objects are so well preserved is that one of London's lost rivers, the Walbrook River, ran under the site.

Michael Marshall, Roman-find specialist at Mola, said the artefacts would “completely transform” understanding of Roman London: “There are very few civilian sites. This is the largest assemblage discovered in London.”

Bloomberg is building its new headquarters on the site and in late 2010 started demolition of Bucklersbury House, built in 1952. The treasures include several items never seen before, including a stitched leather furnishing and an amber amulet in the shape of a gladiator's head. - The Independent

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