Kent commuter misery of Crossrail project offset by unearthed treasures on show at Museum of London

Contributed by editor on Feb 12, 2017 - 02:45 PM

By Dana Wiffen

Kent commuters will not have failed to miss the inconvenience and extent of the work being completed at London Bridge over the last couple of years by the construction of the £15bn Crossrail construction project.



The South Eastern line between London, Woolwich, Abbey Wood and Kent, now known as Crossrail, has seen a treasure of archaeological objects unearthed by Europe’s largest infrastructure project as the digging progressed along the route.

The construction of London’s newest railway, which will be known as the Elizabeth line when services begin in 2018, has given archaeologists a unique chance to explore some of the city’s most historically important sites.


Work began in 2009 and the project has undertaken one of the most extensive archaeological programmes ever in the UK.


More than 10,000 artefacts from almost every important period of the capital’s history and have included a Tudor bowling ball and Roman horse shoes Roman hippo sandals, Stone Age tools from Plumstead, Stone age flints from North Woolwich, and 250 skeletons of plague victims.

Some will go on display alongside the story of this great feat of engineering at a major new exhibition in the Museum of London Docklands.


It will explore 8,000 years of human history, revealing the stories of Londoners ranging from Mesolithic tool makers and inhabitants of Roman Londinium to those affected by the Great Plague of 1665.

These finds were discovered in locations as diverse as suburban Abbey Wood in the south east, through Canary Wharf, across to Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road and ending in Westbourne Park and Acton. The finds will sit against a backdrop telling the engineering story of the largest infrastructure project currently underway in Europe, with key facts and figures presented throughout.

The Crossrail project has given archaeologists a rare opportunity to study previously inaccessible areas of London. This exhibition will bring together some of our oldest and oddest finds, and help us bring the stories of London’s hidden history to light.

The exhibition will take visitors on a journey from prehistoric forests and marshes to 21st century engineering.

The exhibition, which is free,  runs from 13th February to 3rd September 2017 at the museum in the shadow of Canary Wharf.

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Top photo: Crossrail at Abbey Wood by Chris Whippet


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