Raksha’s Site Diary: Beneath the Streets of London

Our intrepid Field School Manager with news and views from the trowel’s edge…

Last week, I mentioned I had been working on a Roman site in the City of London for MoLA. This site happens to be part of the original Roman port of London, and is an extension of excavations originally undertaken in the 1980s.

Development is the main catalyst for the majority of archaeological projects completed in the UK, and this site is no exception.  The development of the area has reunited some of the original 1980s excavation team with a site they never thought they would revisit. We have had numerous members of the original team visit the current excavations – and most of them have gone all gooey-eyed and nostalgic, reminiscing about the golden years of their digging youth.

I don’t blame them one jot.  The site, although extremely waterlogged and absolutely brimming with mud, is one of the most exciting Roman waterfront sites I have ever encountered.  There are intact Roman timbers, which appear to create a jetty or a landing platform for the numerous cargo boats coming to unload their wares from the far corners of the empire.  It seems quite unreal that such a small archaeological site in London holds the key to a major part of our history, and our understanding of Roman London.

Yummy Roman archaeology. Nom nom nom!

And so from one hidden treasure to another!  Channel 4 will be airing Time Team Episode 8, ‘Secret of the Dunes’, this Sunday, March 18th.  Kenfig is the story of a small Medieval Welsh town buried intact under hundreds of metres of sand dunes.  Excavating this magnificent archaeology earlier this year was absolutely mind-boggling.  I am, however, still finding sand in my pockets and my boots….I’m really not joking, that stuff gets everywhere!

The episode will be aired on Channel 4 this Sunday at 4:40pm.

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Raksha Dave

Written by Raksha Dave

A long-time member of Channel 4's Time Team, Raksha Dave is one of the country's best loved archaeologists. Unequivocally, she has never, and will never, be married to Matt Williams.

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