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Buildings and a bone spoon among items found during Barking archaeological investigation

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 November 2020

One of the walls found during the dig. Picture: Weston Homes

One of the walls found during the dig. Picture: Weston Homes

Weston Homes

Two medieval buildings containing reused Roman roof tiles have been found during an archaeological excavation in Barking.

This bone spoon has been found during the excavation in Barking. Picture: Antonio ReisThis bone spoon has been found during the excavation in Barking. Picture: Antonio Reis

They were among artefacts discovered during a dig close to the ruins of Barking Abbey, providing an understanding of how the area has evolved over the past 2,000 years.

Archaeologists exploring the Abbey Quays construction site - located between the Abbey and the original course of the River Roding - found two small buildings which are thought to date back to when Britain was under Saxon rule, with a significant amount of Roman building material reused in the structures, such as roof tiles for floors.

A smaller structure has also been found near the river, which may have been used to dry or smoke fish for banquets at the Abbey.

Other discoveries include a fine chalk block wall which could have been part of a wall around the Abbey precint and a finely carved bone spoon, which dates back to the medieval period and is possibly Scandanavian in origin.

Part of the archaeological excavation in Barking. Picture: Weston HomesPart of the archaeological excavation in Barking. Picture: Weston Homes

It is thought that the historic findings may lead to academics rethinking what went on in Barking during the Roman, Saxon and medieval periods.

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The excavation on the site, owned by developers Weston Homes, is continuing and the company hopes to find a way to preserve and showcase the findings.

One idea is to install glass flooring within the new development to allow visitors to look at the Abbey wall ruins.

A bone pin found during the dig. Picture: Weston HomesA bone pin found during the dig. Picture: Weston Homes

Bob Weston, chairman of Weston Homes, said: “Weston Homes are committed to ensuring that the historic findings at Barking are rightfully protected and preserved.

“It is exciting to know that we have found several important pieces of British history that will help to shape our understanding of the early Anglo-Roman and medieval eras.

“We look forward to working with the archaeological teams as the excavation continues over the coming weeks.”

Barking Abbey dates back to the 7th century, when it was built by Saint Erkenwald for his sister Saint Ethelburg.

A coin found during the excavation. Picture: Antonio ReisA coin found during the excavation. Picture: Antonio Reis

It was considered an important religious building alongside Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral, and existed for almost 900 years until King Henry VIII’s dissolved it, and many other monastries, in 1539.


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