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Anonymous

Mortimer Wheeler House<br>
An afternoon loose in London sent me to the web to see what was worth a visit.<br>
Inevitably London Museum came to mind and their website ( www.museumoflondon.org.uk )revealed the fact that their artefact store was allowing an on line search and the possibility of a visit.<br>
An email produced an invitation from John shepherd the archive manager of the installation .<br>
Work done I set off to North London's 46 Eagle wharf road where what was a large pipe manufacturer has been turned into what is probably the largest UK store of artefacts from digs all around London.<br>
Introductions over I was taken on a tour of the building which is mostly just like the pipes have just moved out and been replaced with rack storage familiar to most users of reference libraries.<br>
In these racks are boxes and boxes of finds from digs all over the city from all periods up to the nineteenth century. They are selective over what they catalogue . They don’t list individual pottery shards but they do list styli for example. However if there is a makers name then it is listed.<br>
Oddly some things get special attention . Mortar for example . There are boxes and boxes of mortar samples as someone in the past thought they ought to be analysed. The money and the will was lost so they take up space . Nails likewise so if anyone wants to research the roman nail there are any number of samples all rusting away on the shelves as there is no hope of funds for preservation. Coins too are legion. What was once a days highlight of a days digging is now one coin in a thousand..<br>
So what is the benefit to us? Simply that if you are wanting to reconstruct some artefact you can go online to the museum and search for those artefacts. This does not give a picture but does give a reference where those finds are. If this is then passed onto the museum with at least 24 hrs notice the originals will be available for inspection and photography (non commercial ). This is especially useful for those nearer to London than the writer but in any event access is easy enough. Via rail (Essex road station) bus 141 271 and 76 or you can park in the road.<br>
A couple of other points of interest.<br>
They found a Lorica Segmentata on the plantation Place site in Autumn 2000 which they describe as an “iron lumpâ€ÂÂ