London is the capital municipality of England and the United Kingdom. It’s also the largest city with a population of about nine million. The City has a rich and complex archaeology, and the archaeological library and Research Centre hold analogous unique vestiges. 

The London Archaeological Archive Research Centre, predicated in Hackney, is a place for nonfictional preservation and conservation. After a long period of organisation, it opened its doors to the public in February 2002. The Depository Center now has enormous and untapped eventuality.   

Inside the world's biggest archive: The London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre - Sheet1
Boroughs of London_©

These vestiges have been recorded and created with international value and significance over the last 100 years. 

Inside the world's biggest archive: The London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre - Sheet2
Site Location_©

The Archaeological Archive first came into the limelight following the transfer of point libraries from various associations to the Curatorial Division of the Museum of London in the early 1990s. The London archaeological library has records and finds made during an archaeological design. These include written or drawn documentation, digital lines, and paraphernalia analogous to pottery, monument, metalwork, and woodwork. At the end of an archaeological project, the library will be transferred to a gallery, repository, or digital library, curated and made accessible for further disquisition, education, or enjoyment. 

Inside the world's biggest archive: The London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre - Sheet3
Exterior view of LAARC_©

The London archaeological library centre has the primary pretensions:

  • Curating disquisition. 
  • Leadership Learning In other to execute the pretensions, 
  • Research
  • Learning

They have an outreach program where they take various interesting particulars and collections outside London and expose them to dwellers needing analogous regular access to cultural particulars. 

Interesting and record-breaking particulars set up within the gallery’s shelving include:

  • Shoes dating from Roman times to the present day.
  • A two-hundred-time-old brace of false teeth.
  • A selection of witching bottles’, one complete with mortal teeth and toenails, lurid pall plates from London’s cemeteries.
  • Fantastic beast bones, including Goliath bones, turtle shells, and a swordfish bill 
Inside the world's biggest archive: The London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre - Sheet4
Exterior view of the Museum of London_©

Staff & Capacity 

The Museum documents archaeological excavations over the last 100 years and holds the Guinness World Record for the most extensive archaeological library, with over 5 million vestiges. The institution records about 8500 excavations and is full of retired treasures, and has about 10 km of shelving and over 120,000 brown boxes for records. The Centre has about 200 staff, 35 specialists in various artistic fields, and over 250,000 collections in the social and working history collections alone. The staff there cares for and compiles these libraries produced during major archaeology systems involving establishing, packing, and ordering the library to grease the recovery of information or objects. The capacity of the Archaeological Archive has yet to be used. Notwithstanding the thousands of evaluation, excavation, and disquisition libraries, there are well over 20 original archaeological societies in the Greater London area and multitudinous original nonfictional and amenity societies, each with their disquisition intentions. 

The Museum of London also uses part of the Mortimer Wheeler House for storage to see some stupendous dig-related particulars on or stint, like their toys and games accessions and the telephone switchboard from Buckingham Palace. One of the more exciting yet completely arbitrary particulars was the king’s urinal from the Royal Opera House

Interior of the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre_©

Archiving Process and Stages of Word

When particulars are brought to the centre, they are entered at the outside gate, enumerated or tagged, washed, dried, and bagged or boxed accordingly. After the specialists look at the particulars, they are reused, dated, archived, and entered. 

Archaeology and heritage are now seen as essential fields within the planning process. In any planning operation, conservation processes must be considered beforehand to minimise detainments and expenditure. A program of work is followed, depending on the results of each stage, beginning from 

  • Office Predicated Assessment: This is done former to or beforehand in the development to determine what kind of archaeological process will be used and whether intrusive exploration is demanded. 
  • Evaluation: At the end of the process, the results are generally determined whether excavation is necessary. 
  • Watching detail is generally done ahead, during, or after the main phases of work or a stage-alone design. 
  • Excavation: This is the final step of getting to the item. It’s generally the most detailed and thorough position of archaeological exploration.

Installations Within the Centre

The facility has spaces for various classes of laboratories ranging from Archaeological & Geographical Information Systems Laboratories for Archaeo-botany, Bone, zoo-archaeology, Conservation, Geoarchaeology, Lithics, Photographic, and Forensic laboratories. There are spaces for reading, circulation, workshops, maintenance, offices, learning areas for education and other activities, and storage spaces for reservations.


The design of the complex is carefully planned to maximise the efficiency of circulation and storage and is also attractive. It adheres follows the modernist principles of form following function, incorporating a considerable variety of massing and materials to prevent it from appearing as a single monolithic block. 

Designed using a modular layout on the plan, the exterior comprises long glazing with the brickwork of two primary shades. Despite its large scale, the building has an attractive composition with strong horizontal blocks balanced by vertical elements.

The centre has been closed since December 2022 to allow for maintenance and reorganisation. During this period, it will not be possible to visit the centre.


Museum of London award (2023) (Date Accessed 17 April 2023)

 London Archaeological Archive and Research center (2023) (Date Accessed 15 April 2023)

London Archaeology (2023) (Date Accessed 17 April, 2023)

Roaming Librarian (2023)  (Date Accessed 16 April 2023)


Edet Samuel is a Nigerian based architect with consistent practice experience in the built environment He began his career as a pupil architect in a firm and grew through the ranks of starting out his practice. He holds a Masters degree in Architecture from the University of Nigeria, and he's currently pursuing Doctorate with focus on Intelligent building management systems, architectural forensics, and Urban design. Edet Samuel has been exposed to a wide range of design projects cutting across major categories of buildings, and has contributed this experiences to students' academic works. Edet is broadly interested in contemporary responses and diversification in architecture, especially in areas of improved working drawings & detailing, design information and management, public health architecture in this era of pandemics that has made the home front the first line of defense, and design as 'preventive medicine'.