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Artefacts found before the construction of the Olympic Park on view at Museum of London
Olympic Park site engineer Danny Murphy holds a prehistoric flint axe head unearthed by archaeologists ahead of the construction of the Olympic Park during a photocall at the Museum of London on July 19, 2012. The Neolithic axe is believed to be 6000 years old and will be displayed along with the greater collection of artifacts found during the transformation of the Lea Valley at the Museum of London. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL.

LONDON.- Artefacts unearthed by archaeologists ahead of the construction of the Olympic Park are coming home to the Museum of London. One of the star objects is a flint axe dating to 4000BC. Someone living in the Lea Valley 6000 years ago deliberately placed the axe in a stream – perhaps as an offering to the gods. Polished axes would have been used in the Lea Valley at this time to clear woodland for farming. The axe would look a little out of place in the tool box of a builder on the Olympic Park but provides evidence of a long history of industriousness in the Lea Valley.

The area has a long been used by humans, from prehistoric round houses to Roman farming land and the last few years are no exception. On the 19 July, Danny Murphy, a site engineer from Bam Nuttall who has been working on the construction of the Olympic Park, will be given the opportunity to handle the prehistoric axe. Danny will be holding a tool used by someone to fell trees in the very place where the Olympic Park now stands, some 6000 years later. This axe is just a glimpse into the historic legacy the 2012 Games offer London.

Archaeological work by Museum of London Archaeology and Pre-Construct Archaeology began in 2004. The site, an area as large as the City of London, is the largest redevelopment of London in modern times. Findings from the excavation and built record work are amazingly diverse, including Neolithic ritual activity; Roman riverbank revetments and Bronze Age field systems; 19th century railways and canals; medieval mills and WW2 defensive structures. Without the construction of the Olympic Park the history of the Lea Valley would still lie undiscovered.

Museum of London Archaeology
Museum of London Archaeology provides professional archaeological services to the property industry and academic community, in the UK and overseas. Archaeologists have been excavating and recording hundreds of sites in London and beyond for over 30 years.

The team of 150 professional archaeologists and specialists, with their unrivalled expertise in excavation and archaeological interpretation have shaped current understanding of the historical fabric of London.

Around 200 projects are carried out annually throughout the UK and abroad, the results of which make an important and unique contribution to the stories in the Museum of London and the Museum of London Dockland galleries, public and educational programmes and publications.

Amongst the archaeological highlights of Museum of London Archaoelogy’s work are;

• The uncovering in 1998 of the Roman Amphitheatre at Guildhall.

• The remains of a noblewoman found in an intact sarcophagus during cemetery excavations in present day Spitalfields.

• Cutting edge Roman water technology, now reconstructed at the Museum of London, pointing to an elaborate civic water system.

• The unearthing of the middle Saxon trading port of Lundenwic during redevelopments such as the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and the excavation of the Rose Theatre in Southwark.

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July 20, 2012

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