Until the 1970s, archaeologists here say, relatively little emphasis was put on history when building out transport tunnels. Many finds, typically discovered in the top five yards of soil, were seen as mild curiosities or undesired obstacles. But urban archaeologists planned for half a dozen years for the Crossrail project . They created computer models that examined the new 73-mile network in the light of historical records and ancient maps to target the most tantalizing sites for digs. And thus far, going underground in a city with a decidedly checkered past has not been for the fainthearted. A stones throw from Londons Smithfield meat market, for example, excavation crews in March made an unappetizing discovery what is believed to be one of the citys two great graveyards for victims of the 14th-centurys Black Death. The victims buried near Smithfield once lived in a cesspool of a city ridden with rats, fleas and open sewers before dying in the first wave of a plague that would depopulate Europe for centuries. Now, their remains are being analyzed by British scientists, who are attempting to map the DNA of the London plague and establish whether it matches the strands that brought a horrific, early end to millions on the continent. The plague bodies, however, hail from a relative yesterday compared with other discoveries emerging from the reverse hourglass of dig sites. In this city that started life as a backwater outpost of the Roman Empire, a days work this week in the financial district yielded a stunning fragment of bright-orange pottery at least 1,500 years old. Archaeologists have also come a step closer to filling in the map of Roman Londinium, discovering the massive wooden stakes of an old Roman road. It ran along a stream where steel and glass now rise from the earth. Farther east and deeper back in history, diggers found evidence of Mesolithic Londoners who established a 9,000-year-old flint factory for making blades. They hunted by the marshy Thames long before the big game in this town became the primal stalking of stocks and bonds, mergers and acquisitions. Yet many of the finds, particularly the dead bodies, have seemed to only confirm the stereotype of Londoners as living in a capital of the macabre.
Although London is known for being the most eclectic and unpredictable of the fashion capitals, there were a few themes that emerged from the dozens of runways. Romance was in the air for many designers, with many catwalks awash in pretty pastels, petal appliques and floral prints and embellishments. All shades of pink were popular. Temperley London went for the kind of classic old Hollywood glamor it relishes, with grand silk ball gowns and matching opera coats in shades of rose, powdery carnation pink, and rich fuchsias, while at Burberry feminine sheer lace pencil dresses in sugary pastels were worn with soft cashmere sweaters and coats for a sophisticated and sexy look. Preen chose to feature a bright neon pink, which appeared on plastic and rubberized dresses and raincoats. Volume was big, too, with many trapeze shapes and floor-sweeping gowns and wide-leg trousers seen at shows including Mulberry and Erdem. This being London, many designers were impossible to fit into any talk of trends. Vivienne Westwood produced a collection featuring her signature draped dresses and tailored separates, though those designs were sidelined by a modern dance performance with an environmentalist message by model Lily Cole. Christopher Kane, known for his quirky and imaginative designs, showed futuristic dresses that looked like they could be Star Trek costumes and floral prints that looked like biology text book illustrations. Bay Garnett, a stylist for British Vogue, said that Kane and Meadham Kirchhoff, which showed Tuesday, stood out as two of her highlights of the week because they were so creative.”It’s so imaginative. It’s the kind of eclecticism, the kind of spirit of Britishness, I think,” she said. Asked which looks she expected to see copied in shops in spring, she said: “I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’m just looking around and taking in the ideas.” Many in attendance must be thinking the same, as they pack up and head for two more weeks of preview shows in Milan and Paris. ADIDAS BY STELLA MCCARTNEY McCartney ditched the catwalk and took her audience to the gym instead for her new season sportswear collection for Adidas. The British designer had her models wear cropped sweatshirts, stretch bodysuits and daisy print shorts in bright yellow, aqua and tropical lime as they danced, cycled and performed aerial yoga.
Premiership: London Irish 23-29 Exeter
Exeter staged a comeback with converted tries from Dean Mumm and White sealing victory after two earlier penalties. The first half was a relatively tame affair with the Chiefs shading territory and possession before Rouse crossed on the half hour to give Irish the momentum heading into half time. The visitors relied on the reliable boot of Steenson to keep them in touch, but they were only a point behind going into the break. Steenson gave them the lead temporarily after half time before the hosts raced into a 23-12 lead with a Humphreys penalty, while Yarde was awarded a try on the overlap despite a suspicion of a forward pass. Humphreys converted before Steenson scored his 1000th point for Exeter with another penalty. And with prop John Yapp sin-binned for London Irish, the visitors were able to take advantage. Firs Mumm crossed and then with seven minutes remaining White sealed the victory with Steenson sending over the extras. VIEW FROM DRESSING ROOM London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith: “At the back end of the match we couldn’t defend our errors, we needed to bring our error rate down but we didn’t eliminate those errors and they came back to bite us on the backside. “We went into the contest with quite a few hiccups but we were well prepared and that showed for the first 60 minutes, but their first try was a momentum changer as we lost all our momentum after that. “Halani Aulika’s injury could be a serious one it is an Achilles which may be ruptured. We will assess it in 48 hours but potentially it was a season ending injury.” Exeter boss Rob Baxter: “I am not happy with our performance but we showed great character. “In the first half we were disappointing for our game wasn’t direct enough as we were content to try and pass the ball around the opposition. “We are stuttering along a bit, we haven’t really hit the heights that we reached a year ago but we are going well in training.