Roman skulls discovered under Liverpool Street Station

Related Articles

Related Articles

Crossrail tunnelers have discovered about 20 Roman skulls while building a utility tunnel at Crossrail’s Liverpool Street station site.

Working under the direction of Crossrail’s archaeologists, the construction workers have carefully removed the human skulls and Roman pottery, found in the sediment of the historic river channel of the River Walbrook.

The skulls have been found below the Bedlam burial ground established in the 16th Century, where 3,000 skeletons will be carefully removed during major archaeological excavations next year.

 

For safety reasons, the archaeologists have had to leave the archaeology work to the tunnellers as the skulls were located up to six metres below ground.

Roman skulls have been found along the historic Thames tributary, the River Walbrook, throughout London’s history and led to speculation they were heads decapitated by Queen Boudicca’s rebels during the rebellion against Roman occupation in the 1st Century AD.

However, later archaeology suggested that the River Walbrook had possibly eroded a Roman cemetery located under Eldon Street in the Liverpool Street area and the skulls and other bones had been washed downstream.

Crossaril and Mola
Tunnel where Roman skulls found under Liverpool Street : Credit Cross Rail

The latest skulls have been located in clusters indicating they had been caught in a bend in the river. The location of the skulls indicate that they were washed out of the burial ground during Roman times.

Lead archaeologist Jay Carver said: “This is an unexpected and fascinating discovery that reveals another piece in the jigsaw of London’s history. This isn’t the first time that skulls have been found in the bed of the River Walbrook and many early historians suggested these people were killed during the Boudicca rebellion against the Romans. We now think the skulls are possibly from a known Roman burial ground about 50 metres up river from our Liverpool Street station worksite. Their location in the Roman layer indicates they were possibly washed down river during the Roman period.”

The tunnellers have also discovered wooden medieval structures believed to have been part of the walls of the Bedlam burial ground.

Crossrail’s contractor, Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), will analyse the finds over the coming months and hope to find out more about the age, sex and diet of the people associated with the Roman skulls.

Crossrail has previously discovered human bone in the foundations of a Roman road that passes through the site which also may have come from the same nearby Roman cemetery.

During the past few months, Crossrail’s archaeologists have made a number of discoveries that have helped piece together London’s history including:

· The discovery of a Mesolithic ‘tool-making factory’ which included 150 pieces of flint, dating some 9,000 years ago, found at North Woolwich;

· Skeletons from a suspected Black Death burial ground in Charterhouse Square near Barbican station;

· The first piece of gold on the project, a 16th Century gold coin that was used as a sequin or pendent, similar to those worn by wealthy aristocrats and royalty, found at Liverpool Street; and

· The first of 3,000 skeletons that will be relocated from the Bedlam burial ground at Liverpool Street.

Since Crossrail construction began in 2009, more than 10,000 archaeology items, spanning more than 55 million years of London’s history, have been found across over 40 construction sites.

Contributing Source : Cross Rail

 

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Academics Develop New Method to Determine the Origin of Stardust in Meteorites

Meteorites are critical to understanding the beginning of our solar system and how it has evolved over time.

Primate Voice Boxes are Evolving at a Rapid Pace

Scientists have discovered that the larynx, or voice box, of primates is significantly larger relative to body size, has greater variation, and is under faster rates of evolution than in other mammals.

New Discoveries at Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair

Researchers at the Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s military headquarters located in the Masurian woods, Poland have made several new discoveries.

Medieval Sword Found at Bottom of Oder River

An almost complete medieval sword has been recovered from the Oder River in Poland.

Inside the Ice Giants of Space

A new theoretical method paves the way to modelling the interior of the ice giants Uranus and Neptune, thanks to computer simulations on the water contained within them.

Innovative Method Opens up New Perspectives for Reconstructing Climatic Conditions of Past Eras

Corals precipitate their calcareous skeletons (calcium carbonate) from seawater. Over thousands of years, vast coral reefs form due to the deposition of this calcium carbonate.

New Study Supports Predictions That the Arctic Could be Free of Sea Ice by 2035

A new study, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, supports predictions that the Arctic could be free of sea ice by 2035.

Rare ‘Boomerang’ Earthquake Observed Along Atlantic Ocean Fault Line

Scientists have tracked a 'boomerang' earthquake in the ocean for the first time, providing clues about how they could cause devastation on land.

Popular stories

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.

Did Corn Fuel Cahokia’s Rise?

A new study suggests that corn was the staple subsistence crop that allowed the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia to rise to prominence and flourish for nearly 300 years.

The Real Dracula?

“Dracula”, published in 1897 by the Irish Author Bram Stoker, introduced audiences to the infamous Count and his dark world of sired vampiric minions.