April 11, 2013 1:35 pm
A construction project in London turned into an archaeological dig when crews discovered the relics of ancient Rome entombed in the mud. Bloomberg News, whose new headquarters is set to go up atop the site, says that “some 10,000 well-preserved objects” have so far been found:
Museum of London archeologists have discovered good-luck charms, coins, drains and even leather shoes — dating from the mid-40’s A.D. (when the Romans founded London) to 410 A.D. The objects are in good condition because a now-lost river, the Walbrook, kept the ground wet and prevented their decay.
“What we’ve found is essentially a slice through the entire history of Roman London,” said Sophie Jackson, project manager for the Bloomberg Place excavation. “We’ve got, in one corner of this site, the whole sequence: every year of Roman occupation, represented by buildings and yards and alleyways — places where people lived and worked for 350 years, one layer above another.”
“We’re calling this site the Pompeii of the north,” said Jackson.
On top of the charms and coins, says CNN, the dig also turned up fragments from Roman writing tablets—a rare find even in the formerly-Roman and permanently-under-construction city.
More from Smithsonian.com:
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.