The Museum of London has opened a new display which shows off finds from the lost Walbrook valley and beyond and represents over 170 years of excavation in London.
The Walbrook, one of London’s lost rivers, once cut the city in half from Finsbury Circus to Cannon Street station. It may have acted as a boundary, industrial zone, or even a religious site, but for archaeologists it is an important time capsule.
The waterlogged earth of the valley has preserved a collection of rare metal artifacts that give researchers a unique glimpse into the working lives of Roman Londoners.
The museum’s new display is part of a PhD project supervised by the Museum of London and the University of Reading, and is the first large-scale project ever undertaken to understand these important objects.
Included in the display is an iron stamp with the letters MPBR inscribed in reverse onto its striking surface. This may be an abbreviation for Metalla Provinciae Britanniae: ‘the mines of the province of Britannia’. It was perhaps used by officials to stamp metal ingots passing through London on their way to the Continent
On a wider scale, the Museum of London has one of the largest collections of Roman tools in Europe, representing a huge variety of activities. Of the 930 tools recorded so far, 678 of them were recovered from the Walbrook Valley.
A long study into the discovery of apparently decapitated skulls in the Walbrook river was recently concluded.
The exhibition is open until March 2017.