What happened to London after Roman rule?





Two very different finds, dug up close to each other by Trafalgar Square, shine new light on the greatest puzzle of London archaeology - the "silent" centuries after Roman rule.

Plenty happened in London in the 450 years following the end of Roman rule in 410. It became the seat of an English bishopric. Bede in the 730s called it "a mart of many nations".

The Anglo-Saxon town (Lundenwic) was west of the Roman Londinium

So why could archaeologists find almost no evidence that London was inhabited at that time?

It was not until the 1980s that they realised they had been looking in the wrong place.

The Anglo-Saxon London, Lundenwic, was not on the site of Roman London - what is now the City - but in the West End, around Aldwych, the Strand and Trafalgar Square. Then objects and traces of buildings which had already been found in these places began to make sense.

But still there was a 200-year gap. Even Lundenwic remains could not be dated to before the seventh century.

Now, with the latest Roman burial and the earliest Saxon pot found within metres of each other, the gap has narrowed to just 90 years - and set everyone thinking about what it means for the transition from Roman to English London and the significance of the St Martin's site.



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