August 13, 2009

Ancient London-area timber structure found

Archaeologists say the oldest timber structure found yet in the London area was discovered during the excavation of a peat bog near Belmarsh Prison.

Scientists from University College London's Institute of Archaeology said radiocarbon dating showed the timber platform, or trackway, to be nearly 6,000 years old, predating Stonehenge by more than 500 years.

Archaeologists said the structure consisted of a timber platform found at a depth of about 14 feet near an ancient river channel. Officials believe timber platforms were used by prehistoric people to make it easier to cross wetland areas.

Previously, the oldest timber structure in Greater London was a timber trackway dating to 3340-2910 B.C.