PCA was commissioned to undertake archaeological evaluation, excavation and watching briefs at Draper’s Gardens. Works included demolition of an existing building and the construction of a 13 storey building with two basement levels. PCA worked alongside the demolition team to ensure the project ran to schedule and a safe and efficient strategy was developed. While the central tower was demolished, archaeological recording and excavation took place in the western part of the site. Once the cantilevered base of the tower was removed, PCA’s archaeologists could continue work on the western end.
This site lies over the meeting point of three channels of the Walbrook – one of London’s ‘lost’ rivers and a major feature of the Roman and medieval city. These tributaries now survive only in sewers. The waterlogged conditions proved challenging for archaeological work, but the PCA team kept to schedule whilst recording valuable archaeological remains.
Excellent preservation of organic materials and metal objects provided us with a wealth of information about the lives of Roman Londoners. Finds included leather shoes, a wooden track, infant burials inside small timber boxes and metal items, such as a copper alloy key and a hoard of fine objects. The hoard was found at the bottom of a timber-lined well and 20 metal vessels including bowls, buckets, ladles, jugs and an iron trivet were recovered. It was an extraordinary find of international importance.
More information can be found in PCA’s booklet Secrets of the Gardens: Archaeologists unearth the lives of Roman Londoners at Drapers’ Gardens.