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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.

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