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MoLAS 2002: annual review for 2001

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Research and publication in 2001

Along with numbers of articles and short reports, MoLAS completed work on five more major publications in 2001, with many others moving to a very advanced stage and poised for publication in 2002. Deposition of a digital archive for the Royal Opera House project with the Archaeology Data Service is also noteworthy and a pointer to future developments in the dissemination of our work. Nearly 50 monographs and 30 studies papers, as well as many more articles and short reports, are scheduled for publication over the next five years.

In June a launch was held to celebrate the publication of London bridge: 2000 years of a river crossing, a MoLAS monograph by Bruce Watson, Trevor Brigham and Tony Dyson. Publication was funded by English Heritage as part of the Greater London publication programme. The book brings together the archaeological, architectural, historical and pictorial evidence for London's greatest bridge, the place where the 'keep left' rule on the road began in 1722. The Romans realised that the location was the lowest convenient point to bridge the Thames. The Roman bridge went out of use during the 4th century AD and the river was not bridged again until c AD 1000, when the first of a series of timber bridges was erected, initially to prevent Viking raiders sailing upstream. The great stone bridge, lined with houses, was constructed c 1176-1209 and replaced in 1831.

At the end of the year four more publications were jointly launched at the Museum of London. Roman defences and medieval industry: excavations at Baltic House, City of London by Elizabeth Howe (Kvaerner Trollope and Colls Ltd and Skanska Construction UK Ltd) is a monograph about the Baltic Exchange site, badly damaged by a bomb in 1994 and now the location of Foster's Swiss Re tower. Evidence from the site included a late 1st-century AD defensive ditch which formed part of Londinium's early town boundary. Medieval activity dated from the 11th century onwards, with evidence of the manufacture of bells and kitchen utensils in the 13th to 15th centuries.

Roman and medieval townhouses on the London waterfront: excavations at Governor's House, City of London (Argent Real Estate) is a monograph by Trevor Brigham with Aidan Woodger. Excavations in 1969 revealed a substantial Roman building, interpreted as a townhouse attached to the 'Governor's palace' complex. In 1994-7 new work uncovered Roman revetments and two Roman buildings predating the townhouse, one thought to be a goldworker's premises. The new evidence indicates that the townhouse developed separately from other large Roman buildings to the west. Post-Roman strata included 11th-century pitting succeeded by cellared buildings, including the walls of the 14th-century Pountney's Inn, later the Manor of the Rose.

The London Charterhouse (the Governors of Sutton's Hospital with support from English Heritage) is a monograph by Bruno Barber and Christopher Thomas which brings together the findings from a number of sites to produce an important new work on the Carthusian monastery, founded in 1371 just outside the walled City. This fully illustrated account considers the development of the monastery, the pre-monastic Black Death cemetery, and the post-Dissolution setting of the 16th-century mansion and the hospital established in 1613 at one of London's most fascinating historic sites.

Excavations at 25 Cannon Street, City of London: from the Middle Bronze Age to the Great Fire by Nicholas J Elsden is the latest in the MoLAS Archaeology Studies Series, a 74 page book on the recent excavations funded by Fidelity Investments. The site produced rare evidence in the City of Middle Bronze Age activity. Roman quarrying and timber buildings gave way to late Roman masonry buildings covered by 'dark earth'. Cellared buildings had been constructed by the mid 11th century, and pre-dated Friday Street and the Church of St Werburga, founded between 1098 and 1108. The church was not rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666, though the churchyard continued in use as a burial ground.

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