TDP Newsletter Spring 2012


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TDP Newsletter Spring 2012

  1. 1. Newsletter Spring 2012 Thank you for your interest in the Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) You may have been a FROG member since the beginning, met us recently at one of our events orfound us online – however you got here, welcome, and we hope you enjoy our newsletter! In this issue you can find out more about the work of the FROG teams in Bermondsey, Vauxhall, Greenwich, Custom House, Bankside and in West London and about our forthcoming events. If you have anyquestions or would like to find out more about the Thames Discovery Programme, please get in touch: SAVE THE DATE—TOWER OF FROG Training - Book Now! LONDON OPEN FORESHORE! 26-27 May 2012 Join the Thames Discovery Programme, Historic Royal Palaces, Thames21 and the City of London Archaeological Society toexplore the foreshore at the Tower of London Bookings are now open for training to become a member of the Foreshore Recording and Observation Group. Our new programme takes place over four days and includes health and safety training, lectures about Thames archaeology from the TDP team, foreshore fieldwork sessions on some iconic London beaches and guided walks to sites of archaeological and historical interest. All this for a cost of only £25.00 per day!The Thames Discovery Programme is nowhosted by Museum of London Archaeology! Summer session:Our contact details are: Mortimer Wheeler Tuesday 19th – Friday 22nd June 2012House, 46 Eagle Wharf Road, London N17ED, Telephone 02074102207. We’re rarely To book your place, please contact TDP Field in the office so it may be Officer Eliott Wragg. Please note that attendance easier to contact us via at all four days of the training is required to email in the first instance. complete the course and become a member of Also, you can find us on the FROG team. Facebook and Twitter @ThamesDiscovery We look forward to seeing you on the foreshore! Newsletter contributors: Helen Johnston (Greenwich), Peter Marchant (Custom House), Courtney Nimura (Bermondsey) and Solange La Rose (Vauxhall and Bankside). Edited by Nathalie Cohen
  2. 2. News from the Foreshore Recording and Observation Group Vauxhall FROGThe Vauxhall Group may be small, but it’s perfectly-formed and plucky to boot. Vauxhall has been a ratherchallenging site in many ways. We’ve been makingregular visits and been able to see first-hand the rapidchanges going on at the site. In the western half of thezone, where the Bronze-Age structure is situated,significant erosion has made access a bit hair-raising attimes, but it is also exposing peat deposits, newfeatures and flint fragments. This has given theVauxhall FROG a chance to improve our flint-flake-spotting skills. In the eastern half of the site, erosion isexposing more of the underlying peat and a discreteconcentration of fire-cracked flints. We also seem tohave a couple of little new islands appearing along thesite, which appear to be made of redeposited material.There’s everything to play for at Vauxhall, as the site isearmarked for significant disruption as part of ThamesWater’s Tideway Tunnel project but the TDP, withsupport from English Heritage and SLAEC, are on thecase! Photos by Roger Chapman Bankside FROG The Bankside Group has been visiting the site quite regularly over the past 6 months and is now getting to grips with the complexities of not only the site itself, but also the original survey, especially as the area has changed considerably over the past 15 or so years. We’re finding that, as the site is large and there are lots of structures and features, we’ve naturally divided it into thirds, rather than trying to do the whole lot in one go each time. We’re already noticing changes, with erosion resulting in the exposure of previously-covered peat levels, and the deterioration of the bottom of the main access route, Globe Stairs. There has also been some deposition with the growth of an enormous pile of pebbles and allsorts, now known as ‘The Beast’. There’s lots of ongoing FROGging to be doing at this site, although this is one that may be affected by the Jubilee/Olympics jamborees, so this summer could be a bit tricky. Photos by Solange La Rose We’ll keep posting photos and updates though.
  3. 3. Bermondsey FROG From left to right: Edna Wolfson, Margaret Sparks, JeanneAt the Foreshore Lewis, Peter Baistow, Courtney Nimura, Cathy ButlerForum in September2011 our grouppresented work fromthe previous year.Peter’s segmentThen and Nowshowed historicalphotographs of thewaterfront andcompared them withhis own over the last50 years. Jeannepresented theForeshore inContext andexplained ourmethodology formonitoring andrecording, whileEdna’s Foreshore Forays showed artefacts we’ve found from a Late Iron Age sherd to a discarded Russianrevolver! Margaret finished the talk with History on the Street, taking us further from the site to relevant historicallocations in the Bermondsey vicinity. Altogether we felt the conference was not only informative but a greatopportunity to meet some new FROGs and touch base with those we hadn’t seen since in awhile. In Novemberwe visited the Brunel Museum and Tunnel entrance, which set the tone for our winter research schedule.We began 2012 with a presentation of historical maps of Bermondsey by our fellow FROG Alan Haigh. Our grouphas always been interested in connecting what is happening on the waterfront to the foreshore archaeology, andwe have collected over 10 maps spanning from 1688 to the present day. Reconstructing the history of Chamber’sWharf and the surrounds has shed light on a number of features. Some, such as Three Mariners stairs, now onlyexist on the historical maps. In March some FROGs attended the Thames Shipbuilding Symposium at theMuseum of London in Docklands. Most recently we met at LAARC to attend a session led by FROG CourtneyNimura on our new monitoring system. We have spent the winter brainstorming about how we can make theFeature List user-friendlier for some of our members who feel uncomfortable with computers. We now have a planto test this new system throughout the summer as well as record the features under Chamber’s Wharf in greaterdetail. With our tide tables and recording plans organised, the field season has officially begun! West London FROG The group has been busy visiting key sites across West London, including Chiswick, Hammersmith, Brentford and Isleworth, where these photographs were taken in February 2012. Photos by Paul Clabburn
  4. 4. Custom House FROG More FROG News We have made three monitoring visits to Custom House now since we started in late February 2012, and many thanks to Ruthy for being a founding member of the group with me. So far we have been getting familiar with the site, locating the items on the feature list, and taking some initial photographs. Nearly half the site is under a sheltered canopy with lower light, so on the last visit we tried to improve our photographs there. We are still getting used to the site and the equipment and we aim to complete an updated set of photographs of the features when we can. We also want to look for new and Photos by Peter previously unrecorded features - we have been Marchant helping record an interesting feature previously located by FROG member Mark Jennings in the area - a livery company plaque from the Vintners Company (see left). The other photograph here shows another plaque the group found, recording Thames High Water. Greenwich FROGIt’s been an exciting few months in Greenwich. In February asmall group of FROGs were the extras in a Russian TV newsspecial about the foreshore. The production crew weregenuinely interested in the archaeology, but it was a prettygrey and cold day, so hopefully they got some good shots.In March, three of us turned up for a monitoring visit on aparticularly low tide. The top half of the site was covered intwo inches of horrible, slippy mud, so only a handful of thefeatures we normally monitor were visible. But what we foundinstead made up for it a hundred times over. The piles belowthe c12 jetty were mostly out of the water and Photo by Nat Cohenthere were several new features visible,including a large pile of natural and workedstones near one of the drains. But what wasreally exciting was a large area of peat thatstarts at the jetty and goes downriver as far asthe Naval College steps. There was a lot ofpreserved wood in it, including severalcomplete tree trunks and what looked to us likean in situ tree stump. There were also three,small, round posts in the peat, just visible atlow water, lined up at a very suspicious angle.Is it a fishtrap? Are three posts enough to tell?Watch this space..... Photo by Ann Sydney