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40,000 Years of London Come to Life in Unreal Paper Renderings

Once upon a time London was a very different place. You’d expect as much from one of the world’s most famous cities—after all, it has over 40,000 years of history under its belt. What you might not expect is for those many and varied ages to come to life through paper, but this exquisite video from National Geographic does just that.

Using only beautiful and intricate paper creations, this brief history of London covers back to the Stone Age of the woolly mammoths up to the present day, where “thousands of artifacts have been unearthed as a result of the construction of the new Crossrail transportation system in London.” That findings from that construction inspired this look back.


The creations are so wonderful they almost feel like they can’t be just paper. But they are, and they help cover a number of the most famous and important periods in London’s history, including:

  • 40,000 years B.C. (The Stone Age)
  • 2,000 – 600 B.C. (The Bronze Age)
  • 500 B.C. (The Iron Age)
  • 43-410 A.D. (The Roman Period)
  • 60 A.D. (Queen Boudica’s Revolt)
  • 842 (The Viking Attack on London)
  • 1066 (The Norman Invasion)
  • 1348-1350 (The Black Death)
  • 1485-1603 (The Tudor Period)
  • 1665 (The Great Plague)
  • 1666 (The Great Fire of London)
  • 1863 (First Underground Train, a.k.a. the dawn of the Industrial Revolution)

For being just two-and-a-half minutes there is so much going on here you’ll want to watch it repeatedly. Frankly, they’re all so gorgeous I’d be afraid to breathe too close to them.

The video is part of National Geographic‘s look at what the archeological findings have shown about the city’s history, and you can read about it in greater detail here.

Which paper rendering was your favorite? I’m a nerd so I was partial to the paper Bard at his desk. Tell us your answer in the comments below.

HT: gizmodo
Image: National Geographic/YouTube

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