The creation of the Olympic Park, as the venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has completely transformed the character of a large area of the East London landscape. However, the multidisciplinary investigations into the site’s cultural heritage, undertaken as part of that transformation process, have shown that such a dramatic change is nothing new for this area of London. The Lower Lea Valley has a long and varied history, and the legacy that future generations will inherit from 2012 has its roots firmly in the past. What had once been a wild landscape, flanking the lower reaches of the untamed River Lea as it flowed towards the Thames, became an enclosed and farmed landscape, settled first by prehistoric communities exploiting the rich natural resources the valley had to offer, not least the river itself. Then, from the establishment first of Roman Londinium, then Saxon Lundenwic, and finally the city of London itself, life and work in the valley became bound irreversibly to the growth of the nation’s capital – through trade and commerce, politics and power. While, in many respects, the land long retained its character as a rural hinterland, crossed by people going elsewhere and goods passing through, the gravitational pull that London has exerted – on communities and their skills, and on the products of agriculture and industry – has, throughout history, offered economic opportunities to local people (and caused many problems too). This relationship created, in the end, a wholly industrial landscape, only recently declined – but now transformed into the Olympic Park.