Hadrian's Well
  1. Ancient »

Hadrian's Well

This site of an incredibly intact huge Roman well.

In 2001 archaeologists working on a large-scale excavation here, found the foot of a deep well dug in 108-109 AD (dated by dendrochronology). They also found artifacts that initially looked much well preserved to be fairly modern; sections of a massive iron chain and a series of oak 'buckets' or containers, each capable of holding up to seven litres of water.

They were perfectly preserved in the waterlogged conditions, the remains of a Roman water-lifting machine. It would have been a chain of 30 oak buckets, joined by large wrought iron links and capable of raising up to 7,200 litres (1,500 gallons) of water per hour.

The remains appear to have fallen into the well when a fire (possibly the 'Hadrianic' fire, which devastated Roman London in 125 AD) destroyed the machine and a building above it.

There they remained undisturbed until a major redevelopment scheme in the City of London led to their excavation (filmed by BBC's Time Team) almost 1,900 years later.

Location: 30 Gresham Street