Peel back the pavement of a grand old city like London and you can find just about anything, from a first-century Roman fresco to a pair of medieval ice skates—even an elephant’s tooth. As one of Europe’s oldest capitals, London has been continuously lived in and built over by a succession of Romans, Saxons, Normans, Tudors, Georgians, Regency rakes, and Victorians, each of whom added to the pile. As a result the modern city sits atop a rich archaeological layer cake that’s as much as 30 feet high.

From National Geographic‘s cover story on the rare opportunities archaeologists get to excavate a crowded and busy metropolis like London, enjoy 40,000 Years of London’s History—Made Entirely of Paper… mostly water color paper, tissue paper, and foam core. Made in house by the National Geographic team, led by Hans Weise, Fernando Baptista, and Monica Serrano.

Update: Here’s a behind the scenes look at their work:

There are more videos about London and more paper craft, including Animated Life: Seeing the Invisible and Mary Leakey & the Laetoli footprints. Also: Woolly mammoth remains discovered in a Michigan field.

Thanks, @playbythebook.

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