Olympics construction unearths artefacts

PUBLISHED: 16:00 04 August 2012 | UPDATED: 20:38 04 August 2012

Danny Murphy from Bam Nuttall with the axe from 4000BC. Picture: Museum of London

Danny Murphy from Bam Nuttall with the axe from 4000BC. Picture: Museum of London


Excavation work on the site of the Olympic Park has uncovered a treasure trove of artefacts now on display at the Museum of London.

One of the star objects is a flint axe dating to 4000BC. Someone living in the Lea Valley 6000 years ago deliberately placed the axe in a stream.

Polished axes would have been used in the Lea Valley to clear woodland for farming. This axe would look a little out of place in the toolbox of a builder on the Olympic Park but provides evidence of a long history of human activity in the Lea Valley.

Caroline McDonald, Senior Curator of Roman and Prehistory, Museum of London, said: “Of the 10,000 archaeological objects found on the Olympic site, this unfinished flint axe head is undoubtedly one of the stars. It was perhaps left as an offering as part of a ritual ceremony and how fitting that the Olympic Park will witness its own rituals and ceremonies over 6000 years later. I like to think our shared desire to celebrate and commemorate brings us just a little closer to our prehistoric ancestors.”

The area has a long been used by humans, from prehistoric round houses to Roman farming land and the last few years are no exception. Danny Murphy, a site engineer from Bam Nuttall, who has been working on the construction of the Olympic Park, is holding the prehistoric axe - a tool used by someone to fell trees in the very place where the Olympic Park now stands, some 6000 years later. This axe is just a glimpse into the historic legacy the 2012 Games offer London.

Danny Murphy, said: “Working on the construction of the Olympic Park has been really exciting. I was amazed to learn that there were tools of 6000 year old workmen still on site. Now I feel like am a part of the area’s history too.”

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