Archaeological excavations and architectural studies have arguably added more new information about medieval London in the past thirty years than any other discipline. The best overview is provided in J. Schofield, London 1100-1600: The Archaeology of a Capital City (Sheffield, 2011), while The London Archaeologist (published quarterly) offers timely information on current and recent exacavations and discoveries. The Museum of London (see below) has published a variety of monographs and articles on specific sites, as well as more popular works, such as B. Barber, C. Thomas, and B. Watson, Religion in Medieval London: Archaeology and Belief (2013). Another accessible work focused on maritime London is G. Milne, The Port of Medieval London (Stroud, 2003). For a thorough open-access publication on recent discoveries that ideally will serve as a model for other studies, see J. Schofield, L. Blackmore and J. Pearce with T. Dyson, London’s Waterfront 1100-1666: Excavations in Thames Street, London 1974-84 (Oxford, 2018).
Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) was originally the archaeological unit of the Museum of London (and known as Museum of London Archaeology Service or MoLAS), but in 2011 became an independent charity that can be contracted to do archaeological work, although it still maintains a partnership with the Museum of London. MOLA has been responsible for the great bulk of archaeological excavations and discoveries in Greater London in all periods. For the middle ages, its excavations proved that Middle Saxon London (called Lundenwic) was situated several miles west of the walled Roman town of Londinium; when Viking attacks worsened in the late ninth century, the Late Saxons moved back to the shelter of the Roman walls into a settlement called Lundenburgh, the site of the Roman (and later medieval) city of London. MOLA publications cover many aspects of the medieval London landscape (buildings, streets, waterways), people (skeletal remains of humans and the animals they raised for food), and material life through finds of pottery, coins, household goods, devotional objects, building materials, pollen, and many other objects.
The Museum of London The Museum of London, located in the Barbican near the old city walls, opened in 1976 to display the history of London residents, particularly through objects discovered in archaeological excavations. The Medieval London gallery covers the period from the departure of the Romans in 410 through the early Tudor age. The Collections/Advanced Search allows you to search the thousands of artefacts in the collection by date, keyword, place, and people, including pictures of over 1000 rings and over 900 lamps, from the middle ages. The Museum will be moving to Smithfield market in the next few years.
The London Archaeologist The London Archaeologist is a magazine published four times a year that contains short articles about recent research, excavations, finds, book reviews, and news and events. The table of contents for issues in the last five years are listed on the magazine’s website, while indices and back issues (except for the last two years) are available through the Archaeology Data Service.
The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS) sponsors lectures, conferences, and publications about the antiquities of London, Westminster, and the metropolitan county of Middlesex. Its publications include the Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (pdfs of most of its volumes from 1860 to 2010 are available on its website), Specialist Supplements to the Transactions, and Special Papers, a monograph series, both of which are often available as downloadable pdfs.
The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) was started in response to the Treasure Act of 1996, which legally obliged those finding gold or silver items at least 300 years old or prehistoric objects of base metal to notify their local Finds Liaison Officer or the British Museum by sending photos of the object, where it was found, and on whose property. Non-metal finds or non-prehistoric base metal are photographed and fully recorded in the PAS database, which has over 1.5 million entries. A search on medieval finds in London turns up almost 800 items, including 102 vessels, 61 pilgrim badges, 52 coins, 44 buckles, 38 tiles, and 18 cloth seals, among other items. Users need to register (for free) to make full use of the search capabilities of the database.
London Architecture: The Survey of London provides detailed architectural and topographical studies of greater London’s built environment. The first volume was published in 1900, and there were 53 volumes as of 2020, along with 18 monographs on individual buildings. Each volume focuses on a different parish or district. Volumes covering parishes in the old city of London contain the most medieval material, which crops up in sections on the parish before the Reformation and historical notes on older properties, or in transcriptions of medieval wills and inventories. See, for example, vol 6: W. C. Pepys and E. Godman, An Account of the History and Fabric of the Medieval Parish Church of Stepney (1905); vol. 12: L. J. Redstone. An Account of the Parish Church of All Hallows Barking (also known as All Hallows-by-the-Tower) (1929); and no. 9 of the Monograph Series: P. Norman and W.D. Caroe, An Account of the Fifteenth Century Hall of Crosby Place, near Bishopsgate Street, now demolished (1908). See also the map of the districts covered thus far. For more recent volumes, see the Survey’s current sponsor, Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL.
The Buildings of England series is also called “Pevsner’s Guides” after the original editor, Nikolaus Pevsner, who produced 46 volumes (generally one volume per county) in the four decades before the 1970s. The updated editions (over 50 thus far) are published by Yale University Press. There are six volume that cover the standing buildings of Greater London: London: Vol. 1, The City of London (1997); London: Vol. 2, South (1983); London: Vol. 3, North West (1991); London: Vol. 4, North (1998); London: Vol. 5, East (2005); and London: Vol. 6, Westminster (2003).