London's Oldest Trackway Found in Belmarsh

By Nicolas Chinardet Last edited 115 months ago
London's Oldest Trackway Found in Belmarsh

Photo courtesy of University College London
Belmarsh Prison in Plumstead is renowned for its high-profile inmates (Jeffrey Archer, Charles Bronson, Abu Hamza al-Masri or even the recently released Ronnie Biggs) but it just added another claim to fame to its record.

The idea of the excavation of a peat bog near a prison may conjure up Victorian and misty images of rotting flesh but it is something altogether more wholesome (and therefore perhaps slightly disappointing) that has been discovered on the site of a planned extension to the current prison.

Greater London's earliest known timber structure, a platform or trackway allowing access to the river over its marshy shores, has been dated as being nearly 6,000 years old. The previous older of the title was another trackway in Silvertown (Docklands) and is about 700 years younger than the new discovery. The Belmarsh trackway also becomes one of the earliest in the country.

Last Updated 12 August 2009