Anglo-Saxon London

Louise Fowler: Looking for Lundenwic

I’m having a lovely lunch amongst the roses in the garden behind St Pauls church in Covent Garden. It’s a welcome break from the basement nearby where we are working, where there are two machines, a concrete cutter and a team of guys trying to install the steel framework for a new ground floor along with building the foundations for a new staircase as the building is being refurbished. The floor of the basement is being lowered as part of the refurbishment, so we’re on site excavating any surviving archaeology below the existing basement floor.

We’re right in the heart of Middle Saxon London here, but most of today so far has been spent digging some 17th century pits. I’m saving up the Saxon gravel quarry pits for this afternoon! If our basement had been just a little shallower we might have had buildings and streets surviving, but all that’s left of them are fragments that have slumped into the soft fills of the pits, a tantalising glimpse of the town that stood here around 1300 years ago.