Crossrail work makes Plumstead Bronze Age discovery
REMAINS of a Bronze Age pathway have been discovered in Plumstead as part of the Crossrail construction.
The find was made near the rail project's Plumstead tunnel, close to Belmarsh prison where archaeologists discovered Britain's oldest known timber structure back in 2009.
This new find includes two wooden stakes cut by early London hunters with an axe, and which may have been used to build a timber pathway, along with a stone hammer tool.
But the discovery is not a surprise, as the Crossrail line - which will eventually link Abbey Wood to central London - follows the same route as a 3,500-year-old transport network.
Made up of timber pathways, archaeologists think the route would have allowed hunters easier access to rich wildlife that lived on the lush wetlands.
Crossrail’s lead archaeologist Jay Carver said: "This is a very significant find and the first Bronze Age find on the Crossrail project. We know from other sites nearby that this area was probably crisscrossed by a network of pathways.
"As excavation works for the Plumstead tunnel portal got underway our archaeologists uncovered several wooden stakes and at least two that appear to have cut marks from a metal axe.
"Although we haven’t identified an actual track way yet, the timbers are similar to those used to make the track ways and certainly show that people were in the area exploiting the woodland.
Two tunnel boring machines will be launched from the Plumstead site early next year, constructing twin, 2.6km tunnels under the Thames.
Crossrail construction has already unearthed a number of other finds in the capital, including medieval human bones found at Liverpool Street and a piece of mammoth jaw bone.
An exhibition of discoveries is running at the project's Tottenham Court Road victor centre this month.