Before commencing work on the Olympic Park site, a comprehensive programme of archaeological excavations, building recordings and historical research was undertaken by the ODA. This research threw new light on to the deeply buried past on the lower Lea Valley.
Archaeologists found evidence for people working and living in the lower Lea Valley over thousands of years – from prehistoric hunters and farmers, to Victorian factory workers and World War II defence personnel.
Throughout the valley’s history the River Lea has been a natural, and sometimes uncontrollable, feature within the landscape and a major influence on people’s lives. As a managed resource, the river provided water and materials for farms and settlements, transport for people and goods, and power for the valley’s mills.
For the last 2,000 years, the valley’s history has been bound to that of London, its character shaped by the economic and political forces that made the modern world and by the rich and diverse communities that made east London their home and place of work.