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BODY OF THE PAPER Early history

According to the legendary Historia Regum Britanniae, of Geoffrey of Monmouth, London was founded by Brutus of Troy after he defeated the incumbent giants Gog and Magog and was known asCaer Troia, Troia Nova (Latin for New Troy), which, according to a pseudo-etymology, was corrupted to Trinovantum. Trinovantes were the Iron Age tribe who inhabited the area prior to the Romans. Geoffrey provides prehistoric London with a rich array of legendary kings, such as King Lud (see also Lludd, from Welsh Mythology) who, he claims, renamed the town Caer Ludein, from which London was derived, and was buried at Ludgate.

However, despite intensive excavations, archaeologists have found no evidence of a prehistoric major settlement in the area. There have been scattered prehistoric finds, evidence of farming, burial and traces of habitation, but nothing more substantial. It is now considered unlikely that a pre-Roman city existed, but as some of the Roman city remains unexcavated, it is still just possible that some settlement may yet be discovered.

During prehistoric times, London was most likely a rural area with scattered settlement. Rich finds such as the Battersea Shield, found in the Thames near Chelsea, suggest the area was important; there may have been important settlements at Egham and Brentford, and there was a hillfort at Uppall, but no city in the area of the Roman London, the present day City of London.

Numerous finds have been made of spear heads and weaponry from the Bronze and Iron ages near the banks of the Thames in the London area, many of which had clearly been used in battle. This suggests that the Thames was an important tribal boundary.

In 2002 a dig for the Channel 4 series Time Team unearthed a series of timbers driven vertically into the ground on the south bank of the Thames next to the SIS Building in Vauxhall which suggests the presence of a bridge or jetty 3,000 years ago.

 


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 740


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