The London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre, or LAARC, has been named by Guinness World Records as the world's Largest archaeological archive.

The Museum of London's LAARC is full of London's hidden treasures with over 5 million artefacts and records of nearly 8,500 London excavations, so every time a box is opened the mysteries of the capital's past are illuminated.

Some of the record-breaking items to be found within the LAARC's 10km of shelving and 120,000 brown boxes include:

  • shoes dating from Roman times to the present day
  • a 200 year-old pair of false teeth
  • a selection of 'witching bottles', one complete with human teeth and toenails
  • macabre coffin plates from London's cemeteries
  • exotic animal bones including whale bones, turtle shells and a swordfish bill


Today's record is announced as part of World Record London and pushes the UK capital a step closer to becoming a world record breaking city.

Roy Stephenson, Head of the Museum of London's Archaeological Collections and Archives, said:

"One thing that makes London unique is its rich complex archaeology, some of the best in the world. The water logged environment is perfect for preserving organic objects from leather clothes to wooden waterfronts as well as pottery, coins and bones, all of which and more are represented in our archive. There are many objects in the collections that excite me, one of which is a Maori Patu or war club, which must have been brought home from an epic journey to New Zealand in the 18th or 19th century, it is redolent of past peoples endeavours and the place of London on the world stage.

"Many of the best examples from our archive are on show to visitors within the Museum of London's galleries. For visitors who want a deeper look at our archives we run many popular tours and an award winning volunteer inclusion programme, I urge everyone to take part and see what archaeology can tell us about London's past."

Gordon Innes, CEO at London and Partners, said:

"London has some of the world's best museums with many visitors starting their trip with a visit to the excellent Museum of London. We are delighted that World Record London highlights an amazing museum that demonstrates how the city changes and evolves and has been welcoming the world for over its history. Alongside this award we hope the all the other records to come will show the many unique and one off events and experiences that London has to offer during this magical year."

The LAARC's award-winning Volunteer (Visitor) Inclusion Programme is funded through the Renaissance in the Regions programme, a national investment in regional museums managed by Arts Council England, to find out more or book a visit to the LAARC visit