Dark Age London
By David Nash Ford
Not surprisingly, little is
known of London in the period widely called the Dark
Ages. However, archaeologists have given us a
small glimpse of life at this time. The city was
largely ruinous; yet at least one large Roman
house, with an underground heating system and
private bath-suite, was still being lived in,
probably well into the late 5th century. The
occupants used (or at least hoarded) Roman coins
from previous decades and imported large amphora
jars from the Eastern Mediterranean. This trade
with the distant Empire may indicate a brief
revival of London as a commercial centre. It has
even been suggested that, due to the troubled
nature of the times, the return exports may have
been slaves. The city appears to have been known
by the late Celtic name of 'Caer-Lundein'
and, may possibly, have been at the centre of a
small kingdom also encompassing St. Albans.
However, tales of King
Arthur holding court at Westminster
and pulling the Sword from the Stone in St.
Paul's Churchyard are merely apocryphal.
Next: Saxon London
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