Archeologists uncover artefacts around Barking Abbey showing societies have thrived there for millennia

The skeleton of a dog next to Roman tiles. Picture: Tom Horton

The skeleton of a dog next to Roman tiles. Picture: Tom Horton - Credit: Tom Horton

Archeologists excavating the area around Barking Abbey have uncovered artefacts over 10,000 years old, proving that societies have thrived in Barking for millennia.

The remains of a Saxon wall. Picture: Tom Horton

The remains of a Saxon wall. Picture: Tom Horton - Credit: Tom Horton

Objects from the Medieval, Roman, Saxon, Neolithic and Paleolithic periods have been discovered on the site, which has long been inhabited due to the area’s fertile land and proximity to the Thames, according to the archeologists.

It is the first time the site, which is next to ruins of abbeys from the Medieval and Saxon periods, has been excavated since the 1980s.

After peeling back just a few metres of earth a trove of ancient items have been discovered.

The team of 12 archeologists have uncovered a piece of stone used to make tools between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago.

A piece of Saxon pottery. Picture: Tom Horton

A piece of Saxon pottery. Picture: Tom Horton - Credit: Tom Horton


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A flint blade believed to be thousands of years old, from the late Neolithic period, has also been found.

Also uncovered was a collection of Saxon artefacts including an intricate piece of metal work, thought to be for burning incense, a silver coin, a metal pin with a small eagle on the end and intricate pieces of pottery.

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Ruins of buildings have been found with bones and oyster shells scattered on the floor, showing the area was used as a living space during Saxon times.

Archeologist Kyle Beaverstock, who has been working on the site, said: “We haven’t got evidence showing specifically what the buildings were for, but people were definitely living and eating here.”

Remains of a kiln used for firing pottery during the Saxon period has also been found on site.

After the team dug up the earth, they also uncovered the old bed of the River Roding, which once flowed roughly 50 metres east of its current path.

Clear evidence of a wharf used to moor boats in Saxon times has been uncovered, along with large planks that were used to sure up the banks, preventing erosion damaging the abbey.

The excavation is taking place because the site, managed by Soilfix, is set to be built on.

Picture: Tom Horton

Picture: Tom Horton - Credit: Tom Horton

Because the area is of archeological interest a thorough excavation, which has been carried out over a period of several months by Thames Valley Archaeological Services, has taken place first.

Visitors are invited to visit the site, which behind the hoardings on Abbey Road, next to the Abbey Ruins, this Saturday between 11am and 3pm.

Saxon metal work, potentially used for burning incense. Picture: Tom Horton

Saxon metal work, potentially used for burning incense. Picture: Tom Horton - Credit: Tom Horton

Ruins of a wall round the perimeter of the Saxon abbey. Picture: Tom Horton

Ruins of a wall round the perimeter of the Saxon abbey. Picture: Tom Horton - Credit: Tom Horton

The Saxon wharf on the former bank of the River Roding. Picture: Tom Horton

The Saxon wharf on the former bank of the River Roding. Picture: Tom Horton - Credit: Tom Horton

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