Wednesday, June 13, 2012


The London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games open on July 27. Among the first to prepare for this historic moment were archaeologists, who excavated a 1.6-square-mile site in east London. Olympic Park, with its stadium, Aquatics Center and Velodome, was later constructed on the land.

Most viewers of the games will see these buildings, not realizing that thousands of years of U.K. history exist underneath the structures.

One of the oldest artifacts to be unearthed was this Neolithic flint axe head.

Wessex Archaeology’s Andrew Powell, who helped to analyze the findings, told Discovery News,  “Axes like these would have been used for clearing woodland for cultivation, but would also have been prestige objects, exchanged over long distances and possibly used, perhaps as here, as some form of votive offering.” He thinks the axe may have been tossed in the Lea River, since placing valuable objects in rivers held ritualistic significance for certain cultures during prehistoric times.

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