Very old heads in London - level 3

Very old heads in London - level 3

10-10-2013 14:00

To walk along London’s streets is, essentially, to take a walk through history. For more than 2,000 years, people have lived in this part of Britain, and every now and then, there is a reminder of just how old the modern capital city is.

For example, construction workers for Crossrail were building a utility tunnel at Liverpool Street Station recently, when deep underground, they came across something unexpected–20 Roman skulls!

They also found wooden structures believed to have been part of the walls of the Bedlam burial ground. That was established in the 16th century, and there are already plans for 3,000 skeletons to be removed from there from next year. But these latest skulls are much older.

Initially, it was thought they were the decapitated heads of Queen Boudicca’s rebels, who fought against the Roman occupation 1,900 years ago. However, later archaeology suggested that the River Walbrook possibly eroded a Roman cemetery under Eldon Street, and the skulls had been washed downstream.

The remains were located in clusters, indicating they were caught in a bend in the river. Their location also indicates that they were washed out of the burial ground during Roman times. The Museum of London Archaeology is now analysing the finds, hoping to find out more about the age, sex, and diet of these people of the past. Since Crossrail construction began in 2009, more than 10,000 items, spanning more than 55 million years of London’s history, have been discovered.

Difficult words: essentially (basically), utility tunnel (tunnel for pipes, not people), decapitated (cut somebody's head off), downstream (in the direction in which a river flows), cluster (groups), bend (curve in a river), span (demonstrate).

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