What wonderful timing. Just as the British Museum’s show-stopping Pompeii exhibition is capturing imaginations with its vivid insights into quotidian Roman life, London’s own archaeological treasure trove is being excavated barely a stone’s throw away.
Bloomberg Place is a truly spectacular find – a bonanza of Roman writing tablets, clothing and jewellery, even parts of buildings. There are so many objects (as many as 10,000, experts hope), and they are in such fabulously good condition (preserved by the absence of oxygen in a waterlogged river bed), that the three-acre site has been dubbed the “Pompeii of the North”.
A bit of an exaggeration, of course. The Southern version’s frescoed villas, extant shopping streets, and ghoulishly preserved inhabitants are a tough act to follow. A leather sandal that was last worn 2,000 years ago is still quite something, though.