London’s Oldest Structure!

In the spring of 2010, archaeologists found six timber piles on the foreshore at Nine Elms which would have been part of a bridge to an island in the River Thames.

The piles date back over 6000 years, with carbon dating suggests that the timbers were taken from trees around 4500 BC.  This is known as the late Mesolithic period, or late Middle Stone Age.  The period during which hunting and gathering was practised by small, often mobile communities.

timber
One of the 6000 year old piles.

Archaeologists from the Thames Discovery Programme made the discovery and carried out a detailed survey of the site and the piles using radiocarbon dating.

The site is located at the confluence of the Rivers Effra and Thames.  Near the timbers, late Mesolithic stone tools, including a woodworking tool, were discovered, as well as slightly later Neolithic pottery of two distinct types. The area may have been a significant place or place of worship that could have been used for hundreds or thousands of years.

firstbridge
How it might have looked.

Due to the increase in water levels, the timber piles can only be seen once a year in January at the time of the low spring tide.

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