Olympic Archaeology

As Greenwich is one of the host boroughs for the Olympics, Greenwich residents were invited along to presentation by the Museum of London Archeology Department and Olympic Delivery Authority on the archaeological finds on the Olympic site.

Due to the current closure of the A2 across Blackheath I was worried I wasn't going to get home in time especially after I was detained at work for an hour longer than anticipated.

Thankfully I arrived in time and I am glad I did. It was a very interesting talk which started with the electricity pylons that once crossed the site (it may seem boring now but if we don't have them in the future it will be) and went as far as a Temple built by the Knights Templar.

Now I wish I had the articulate ability and historic knowledge to write a fair and accurate dialogue of some of the key finds but sadly I don't. However I thought I would at least write about some of the things I took some notes on.

Apparently Petrol was invented in the area by a man called Eugene Carless at one of the Factories that has been torn down at the top of Carpenters Road.

During the Second World War the site housed anti-aircraft batteries and pill boxes (dug-in guard posts with holes to fire guns from) to protect London from attacks. As a results many World War II remains including helmets and guns were found at the site.

Where the Aquatics Centre is to be housed the outline of an Iron Age/Bronze Age hut was found. Those of you who watch Time Team will already know what one of these is but those who do not they are circular huts/houses that were built with Timber. In addition to this Iron Age burials were also found.

Just above Stratford High Street the top of a hand axe was found. According to Kieron Tyler, the Senior Archaeologist at the Museum of London, this axe was special as it wasn't just discarded by the owner. It was deposited for ritual purposes. The axe head was on show at the talk. It was quite impressive.

Lastly we were shown pictures of Temple Mill which was built by the Knights Templar around the 12th Century. They had to excavate very deep into the site to find anything but there was an almost preserved cobbled street that formed part of the Temple Mill site.

I am pleased that I got an opportunity to share in this event. I've lived in London all my life and although I know the bog standard history that is taught to children up and down the country, its nice to learn something about an area so close to home. The site had a lot of significance to me as I spent most of my childhood there at the Hackney Speedway ground.

For those living in the host Borough for the Olympics, you can sign up for free tours of the site. The numbers are as follows:

Hackney - 020 8356 3126
Newham - 020 8430 2012
Tower Hamlets - 020 7364 2476
Waltham Forest - 020 8496 6744
Greenwich - 020 8921 6405

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