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London's Crossover Route Archaeological Discoveries
London's Crossrail route, which is open in 2018, will travel through London's West End on its way to Canary Wharf at a cost of $23 billion. It will involve 30 miles of new train and passenger tunnels and is Europe's largest construction project. But there was zero expectations that as the dig dug tunnels deep under the city that the project was to become the U.K.'s largest archaeological dig also. The project has yielded a slice of time with artifacts and skeletons from prehistoric man to medieval and Roman periods. Most of the evidence dug up has been a result of long forgot burial grounds.
So far, the dig has found 400 skeletons, many from around 1600. The oldest items found have dated back 55 million years- a piece of amber found in East London and prehistoric bison bones some 60,000 years old dug up near the Royal Oak Portal at Paddington. Another piece was a flint tool from the Mesolithic period that was dated to 10,000 years ago. This and many other blades were found along the Thames River. It indicates that England was being repopulated after the Ice Age.
Also found were artifacts from the the first, original Roman settlement from the 1st Century, this was an old road at Liverpool Street Station. Items dating back to 134 A.D. included copper coins with the Emperor Hadrian on them along with Roman horseshoes lost centuries ago. at Charterhouse Square Station, workers discovered 23 skeletons from around 1348, a time when the Black Plaque was rampant. It wiped out 33% of the population then. The Liverpool Street site may yield up to 3000 skeletons, probably those who had died at the Bethlehem asylum.
Workers must have a license to move any skeleton. The dig continues and is only slowed because of archaeological concerns and protocols.