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The Gallery | Crossrail's archaeological discoveries

Crossrail is set to unveil 10,000 years of London’s hidden history in series of archaeology books.

The discoveries unearthed during the construction of Crossrail are to be explored in a series of 10 new books by Crossrail, Oxford Archaeology Ramboll and the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA).

Since construction began in 2009, more than 200 archaeologists have unearthed over 10,000 objects from 40 locations, spanning 55M years. The new railway, which will operate as the Elizabeth line, runs through some of the capital’s most significant historical areas.

Jay Carver, Crossrail lead archaeologist, said: “The construction of Crossrail has given archaeologists a rare and exciting opportunity to excavate and study areas of London that would ordinarily be inaccessible.

“Our aim is to shine a light on the past, and make sense of a jigsaw of evidence to tell a story that takes the reader on a journey of discovery about this incredible city and its people.”

The first two books to be published look at Worcester House, a late medieval and Tudor moated manor house in Stepney Green and The Thames Ironworks, one of Britain’s great and innovative shipbuilders located on the River Thames between 1837 and 1912.

Danny Harrison MOLA senior archaeologist and author of The Thames Iron Works 1837-1912: a major shipbuilder on the Thames, said: “Excavating the remains of the Thames Ironworks for Crossrail provided a remarkable opportunity to uncover the workings of one of Britain’s great Victorian shipbuilders.

“Combining the archaeological findings with historical accounts, drawings, maps and photographs has revealed the forgotten story of the people that worked at the iron works. It also sheds light on many of their fascinating projects, from the HMS Warrior- the first armour-plated, iron-hulled ocean-going warship, to the cylinder ship Cleopatra that transported Cleopatra’s Needle from Egypt.”

The full series of 10 books will be published over the next 18 months, and will explore a wide range of periods and locations, including: historic buildings along the route; railway heritage; the development of Soho and the West End; the Crosse and Blackwell factory at Tottenham Court Road; the investigations at Charterhouse Square at Farringdon; pre-historic east London; and the Roman and post-medieval remains at Liverpool Street.

The books are available to purchase on the Museum of London Archaeology website.

The books will be supplemented by the release of Crossrail’s Fieldwork Reports – extensive technical papers that provide a much greater level of detail and further information on the excavations and their findings. All the Fieldwork Reports will be available on Crossrail’s Learning Legacy website later this month. 


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