London is in the midst of a building boom. Towering new apartment buildings and office blocks are regularly springing up, while the massive Crossrail project is tunneling down beneath the streets. As London continues to break ground, archaeologists are revealing deep layers of the city’s history and discovering treasure troves of artifacts dating back thousands of years.

According to National Geographic, archaeologists have found everything from Roman frescos to medieval ice skates. “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,” writes National Geographic. “As a result the modern city sits atop a rich archaeological layer cake that’s as much as 30 feet high.”

In honor of these archaeological discoveries, National Geographic released a beautiful animated video tracing London’s lengthy history. Titled “Under London,” the video compresses 40,000 years of the city’s history into just under three minutes. Beginning in a time when “woolly mammoths roamed the tundra,” the video briefly illustrates London during different time periods, including the Roman era, the Norman invasion, the Tudor Period (when Shakespeare wrote his plays), and the Industrial Revolution. Using paper figures to tell the city’s story, the video is a lovingly crafted tribute to the city.

[h/t: Mashable]

Banner Image Credit: National Geographic, YouTube