History of the Olympic Park Area

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which was established soon after London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games was announced, was the public body responsible for ensuring delivery of venues, infrastructure and legacy for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Prior to building the physical structure of the Olympic Park, the ODA carried out some detailed ground works and investigations to discover the hidden heritage of the site. After extensive investigations, they have revealed a number of finds, such as a Roman coin, a wooden boat and even an entire cobbled street that had been buried!

In fact the Olympic Park area is known to have had an intriguing background, having been inhabited by Romans and Saxons, invaded by Vikings, visited by Knights Templar and attacked during World War II. The River Lea which passes through the area was also a reason why many industries were located here but when they closed it fell into decline.

The ODA has publicised details of the incredible things they have unearthed. The wooden boat, thought to have been used as a smaller transportation vessel from a larger ship, was found at the site of the Olympic Stadium. The Museum of London has also assisted the ODA in identifying several smaller artefacts that have been unearthed. Amongst the more significant finds was a Roman coin, believed to date from the time of Emperor Constantine II, around AD 330-335. This was also discovered close to the site of the Olympic Stadium.

Old World War II helmets were found close to the location of the new Velopark. This was less of a surprise though, as it was already known that there was once a small scale army anti-aircraft base there. Archaeologists unearthed an entire cobbled street in the north of the Olympic Park. This was part of a mill complex and dates from over 150 years ago.

Other, more ancient remains have been discovered, some dating right back to the Bronze Age. A 2,000 year old hut was dug up whilst work was being carried out to provide power and tunnels for the new Underground train system.

Indications that an ancient settlement once existed at the site of the Aquatics Centre were also disclosed. Four human skeletons, dating back 3,000 years were found buried in separate graves. And close by, various pieces of ancient pottery were discovered, remnants of an ancient civilisation in the area. The Museum of London dated the pottery back to the 4th century AD.