A Roman settlement filled with more than 11,000 artefacts has been discovered on the site of London Syon Park, a Waldorf Astoria hotel, set to open in early 2011.
The remains include a Roman road, settlement and Roman burials and have lain largely undisturbed, despite being just half a metre below the ground surface, for almost 2,000 years.
The finds, which were made by the Museum of London Archaeology at the Grade I-listed site in west London, include two shale armlets, fragments of lava quernstone, and a Late Bronze Age (1,000-700BC) gold bracelet from an earlier age.
Some of the finds will be on display at the new hotel.
Jo Lyon, senior archaeologist at Museum of London Archaeology, said: "We were extremely fortunate to discover such a comprehensive repertoire of Roman finds and features so close to the surface. They tell us a great deal about how the people of this village lived, worked and died.
"The archaeology at Syon Park has given us a valuable, rare insight into the daily life of an agricultural village on the outskirts of Londinium (London) that would have supplied the Roman city and provided shelter for travellers passing through. It helps us build a picture of the Roman landscape and shows how the busy metropolis of Londinium connected with the rest of Roman Britain."
The site also revealed a section of one of Roman Britain's most important roads, linking Londinium with the Roman town of Silchester, a rural settlement, an ancient tributary of the Thames, Roman human skeletons and some unusual burials.
Dale MacPhee, general manager at the new 137-bedroom London Syon Park, said: "The Roman findings add to the wonderful uniqueness of our destination and the hotel, which, through its design and guest experience, will pay homage to the heritage of the Syon Park estate. We hope to curate a showcase of the key Roman relics within the hotel lobby for guests to reflect on when we open next year."
By Neil Gerrard
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