London, the center of England’s commercial power and home to a lengthy line of monarchs, has long been a place for high society to enjoy a privileged lifestyle graced with unimaginable riches. Their elaborate palaces and jeweled belongings were so precious, though, that little ended up lost and abandoned in the capital’s soils. The rare snapshots of ancient wealthy citizens teased out of hidden London by dedicated archaeologists are all the more valuable. Here are three ancient treasures that have emerged from London’s depths that provide a glimpse into the champagne lifestyles of Londoners of the past.
The southeast London district of Greenwich, downriver from central London, is not just known for being the beating heart of Britain’s maritime empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. Long before, the Palace of Placentia—Pleasure Palace—was first a royal playground, hosting every indulgence and vice for two centuries of royals, between 1485 and 1660.