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Archaeology at Canary Wharf

A 55-million year old piece of precious amber was uncovered under the dock bed at Canary Wharf. The fossilised tree resin can be analysed to indicate the environment and what trees grew at that time. The amber also contains bubbles of trapped gas that may help research into global warming.

55 million year old amber uncovered at Canary Wharf Crossrail station site_33550

Amber in the UK’s geological sequence is extremely rare and very little amber has been found in London. This amber is large and clearer than any found in the UK. Most other discoveries have been found in geology that is below chalk level, this was found above it.

The amber was found 15 metres below the current dock bed in the centre of a 100mm diameter bore hole.

Miraculously, it was extracted from both the ground and the bore sample perfectly intact.

Construction of the Crossrail project began at North Dock in Canary Wharf in May 2009. Since then the construction team has driven over 1,000 piles and pumped nearly 100 million litres of dock water - the equivalent to 40 Olympic swimming pools. Approximately 300,000 tonnes of material has been excavated from beneath the dock bed and almost 375,000 tonnes of concrete poured.

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