History & Archaeology

On the site where Ebbsfleet International now stands there were some fascinating discoveries. The skeleton of a Straight Tusked Elephant was discovered in the muddy sediments of a small lake (right). It is believed that these remains date back over 400,000 years. A lavishly furnished Roman Villa was also unveiled just downstream of Ebbsfleet International along with an Anglo-Saxon water mill. The mill was found well preserved in the silt near the River Ebbsfleet River and is one of the earliest known mills of its kind in the country.

The brooch in the shape of a hare (above) was found on the site of Ebbsfleet International and dates back to the Gallo-Roman times. This outline is now used as an emblem for the footbridges crossing the M2 at Pepper Hill. HS1, the railway between St Pancras International in London and the Channel Tunnel, provided the catalyst for the largest archaeological project ever in the UK.

During the project phase of HS1, a dedicated project manager and a team of archaeologists worked hand in hand to ensure that sites of potential interest were identified. Where possible they were avoided or preserved in situ. If this proved impossible then investigations were undertaken generally ahead of the main construction activity. Over 70 sites were investigated in this way over 6 years and it wasn't uncommon for over 100 archaeologists to be working on the route at any one time.