Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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London Olympic park

(Courtesy The Museum of London and Pre-Construct Archaeology)

During the Second World War, the "East End" of London was heavily defended—and indeed heavily bombed. This was often the first part of London to be crossed by enemy aircraft flying west from Nazi Germany, and there is copious evidence of that difficult era at the Olympic Park. Among the items recorded and excavated is an antiaircraft battery near Temple Mills, with four gun platforms, a room possibly used for storing cordite, a munitions magazine, and a command center. These structures date back to 1938, a time when Britain's military watched and waited for war. Between 1941 and 1943, during the war years, a radar station was built on the site, together with a number of other installations, including a pillbox and tank blocks. Taken together, this evidence represents critical data for those involved in modern conflict studies.

More London 2012: Archaeology and the Olympics