Ancient town discovered beneath London

The town is believed to date back to between 659 and 774 A.D.


Beneath the bustling streets of central London, nestled under the iconic National Gallery, lies a secret that’s been waiting for centuries to be told. Imagine the surprise of construction workers, who, while digging tunnels for a museum makeover, stumbled upon the echoes of an ancient town from the 7th century known as Lundenwic. It’s like something out of a storybook, right? This discovery paints a picture of a place much grander and historically richer than anyone had guessed. The big reveal came just in time for the National Gallery’s 200th-anniversary celebrations. But this was no ordinary find. The team from University College London’s Archaeology South-East, part of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, were called in and what they unearthed was nothing short of a historical treasure trove: an ancient hearth, the imprints of old postholes, mysterious pits, and layers of history just waiting to be explored.


The ancient town of Lundenwic

Dating back to between 659 and 774 A.D., the hearth was a key find, helping to piece together the life and times of those who once called Lundenwic home. This bustling Saxon town, perched on the waterfront, was once a hub of trading activity, standing on the shoulders of the Roman city of Londinium that came before it. As they dug deeper, the archaeologists also uncovered layers from the post-medieval era, telling tales of the city’s evolution over centuries. Stephen White, a senior archaeologist with the project, couldn’t hide his excitement. He shared how this discovery pushes the boundaries of what we thought we knew about London’s ancient urban sprawl. And to make it even cooler, they’ve been able to share these findings with local youths, connecting them with the very ground beneath their feet.


But London isn’t the only place where the past is resurfacing. Up in Northumberland, a team found remnants of Anglo-Saxon life, including an oven, loom weights, and a structure made of large posts. It’s as if the UK’s soil is just bursting with stories, waiting for us to listen. Isn’t it fascinating to think about the layers of history hidden just beneath our everyday paths? It’s a reminder that, no matter where we are, there are centuries of stories waiting just below the surface, ready to be discovered and shared.

Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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