Take an online tour of the historical artifacts unearthed during the city’s big dig.
If you were to take out a cross-section beneath London’s streets, you would find an archaeologist’s dream — layers of evidence revealing how occupants of the city lived since its founding after the Romans invaded in the year 43.
The construction of London’s new railway project, Crossrail, has offered archaeologists a rare opportunity to do just that.
For the past eight years, engineers have been at work digging 26 miles of tunnels, in what has been billed as the largest infrastructure project in Europe. From the start of the project archaeologists have worked hand in hand with construction teams to excavate and record their findings. In that time more than 10,000 artifacts dating back millions of years have been uncovered.
Now those discoveries are available as part of an interactive online tour that was created to accompany the exhibition “Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail,” held at the Museum of the London Docklands.
Visit the exhibition website to take a virtual walk through the museum and check out some of the artifacts from each of London’s layers, representing times since its founding when the city was occupied by the Romans, the Vikings, the Normans, the Tudors and the Victorians.
Among the finds on the virtual tour are a Tudor wooden bowling ball, Roman personal items including a phallus worn for good luck, and a humorously inscribed Victorian chamber pot. Videos of the excavations other findings, including a Roman cemetery, a 1665 plague pit, and medieval rubbish ditch are also included in the tour.