Archaeological Field Evaluation & Excavation, East London

Instructed by a PLC House Builder to undertake a programme of archaeological works in advance of residential development in North Woolwich.

In Brief

Client: PLC House Builder Sector: Construction; Housebuilding/Commercial Development Services:

Written Scheme of Investigation/WSI; Archaeological Programme of Works; Archaeological Field Evaluation (Trial Trenching)

Location: Royal Docks, Silvertown, East London

Key Points

  • Sensitive site within Royal Docks Archaeological Priority Area
  • Targeting potential gravel islands lying above the surrounding estuarine marshland for evidence of early prehistoric occupation
  • Possible evidence of prehistoric wooden trackway revealed


The area had been identified as a prehistoric wetland likely to have attracted early hunter-gatherers utilising areas of higher land from which to exploit the wide range of available fish and waterfowl.

Our brief was to confirm the presence of any high gravel islands within the 4 metre deep excavation that may have been used by early prehistoric communities.

No evidence for gravel islands was actually encountered; however, the discovery of preserved wood suggestive of a possible prehistoric trackway led to further detailed investigation. This confirmed the timber remains did not form part of any such construction allowing development to continue.


Prompt further detailed investigation confirmed the timber was non-archaeological, enabling works to continue.