Beneath Drapers’ Gardens, in what was once a damp and uninviting quarter of the Roman city of Londinium lies a buried valley, the Walbrook, home to some of the more unpleasant industries of the town, as well as some remarkable and unexpected finds. These include a hoard of metal objects buried in a fourth-century well, the rare discovery of a bear skull and a remarkable red jasper gemstone from a seal ring.
However, what really sets this site apart is both, the extraordinary preservation of finds due to the particular soil conditions of the Walbrook Valley and the sheer size of the area investigated. A near complete urban street with associated buildings spanning many years of the Roman occupation was uncovered.
Buried along with the rest of the settlement under centuries of detritus the land was bought from Henry VIII in 1543 by the Drapers’ Company, regulators of the cloth trade in. the City of London, The Company’s `Great Garden’ remained largely undisturbed for over 400 years, an oasis of calm in the thriving and bustling financial centre. “This resulted in fantastic preservation of the Roman remains buried beneath, despite the construction of one of the tallest buildings in the City here in the 1960s. It seems unlikely that we will ever have the opportunity to excavate such a large and well-preserved site as Drapers’ Gardens in London again