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Tool-Making Factory in London

Archaeologists Discover 9,000-Year-Old Tool-Making Factory in London

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A 9,000-year-old Mesolithic tool-making factory has been found in London during excavation work to create a new 13 mile high-speed railway line.  It is believed that the site, located alongside the River Thames, was used to test, divide and prepare river cobbles to make flint tools, which would then have been taken to another site.

The team of archaeologists found 150 pieces of flint, including blades, dating back to the Mesolithic Age.  "The concentration of flint pieces shows that this was an exceptionally important location for sourcing materials to make tools that were used by early Londoners who lived and hunted on Thames Estuary islands”, said Jay Carver, Crossrail lead archaeologist.

The discovery confirms that the area alongside the River Thames was inhabited as far back as 7,000 BC. "This is a unique and exciting find that reveals evidence of humans returning to England and in particular the Thames Valley after a long hiatus during the Ice Age. It is one of a handful of archaeology sites uncovered that confirms humans lived in the Thames Valley at this time”, said Carver.

In addition, to the Mesolithic tool-making facility, archaeologists have also found the Bedlam asylum’s ancient graveyard with as many as 20,000 skeletons, reindeer and mammoth bones dating back 68,000 years to a Mesolithic tool-making facility, numerous 2,000-year-old horseshoes, an entire stretch of Roman road, the remains of a Tudor manor house, medieval ice skates, an 800-year-old piece of a ship, and rare Roman coins.

The construction of Crossrail will eventually result in one of the most extensive archaeological programmes every undertaken in the UK and it is expected to reveal a wealth of information about London’s history currently hidden beneath its streets.

By April Holloway

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