We all know of paper’s incredible ability to tell stories and pass them down through the ages. For millennia, people have been using this simple tool to achieve massive potential, and in 2016, this is no different. Except now, National Geographic have utilised the power of paper to tell a story in a different way.

After various artefacts were discovered during the construction of the upcoming Crossrail Transport Service in London, National Geographic decided to pay homage to the city’s illustrious history in a mesmerising way. A team designed and filmed an animation spanning 40,000 years of London’s past, from the days of the woolly mammoth, right up to the present day.

It includes scenes of The Bronze Age, The Iron Age, The Roman Period, the Norman Invasion, The Tudor Period, the Great Plague, The Great Fire of London and more. The video is narrated by a young boy who briefly tells the story of London through each of these periods. It ends with him in a museum admiring the artefacts that live on today, reminding us of those who lived and died in London during each period of time.

This sounds impressive enough, but the catch is that the scenes in the animation are made entirely out of paper. The backdrops, the buildings, the characters and even minute details such as grass, William Shakespeare’s quill and even the cobbles on a London street are all modelled using paper. The 3D models are incredibly intricate and realistic, with smooth animation, assumedly achieved through stop-motion effects.

The amount of time that must have gone into creating and animating the models for this three-minute video is baffling, and the result is absolutely mesmerising. You can’t help but be enchanted by London’s history when it is told in such an innovative and creative way, certainly putting paper to good use.