TDP Autumn Newsletter 2011


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Autumn 2011 edition of the Thames Discovery Programme Newsletter

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TDP Autumn Newsletter 2011

  1. 1. Newsletter Autumn 2011 Phase One: the HLF project Thank you for your interest in the 2008-2011 Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) Our training, survey and outreach You may have been a FROG member since programmes for 2008-2011 have all been the beginning, met us recently over the successfully completed! summer at one of our events or found us online – however you got here, welcome, and we hope you enjoy our newsletter! In this issue you can find out more about the last three years of our project and our future plans. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the Thames Discovery Programme, please get in touch: enquiries@thamesdiscovery.orgWe would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for the initial generous grant (withoutwhich the last three years would have been very different) as well as the other bodies,agencies and institutions that supported us. The list is a long one and includes UniversityCollege London, its Public Engagement Unit, the Port of London Authority, CBA (London),the Howard Trust, City of London Archaeological Trust, Museum of London Archaeology, LPArchaeology and the Crown Estates to name but a few. Particular mention must be made ofthe Museum of London, English Heritage and also the Thames Explorer Trust, our partnerorganisation and enthusiastic collaborator in our outreach work; all three have beeninvolved with the TDP since its inception and throughout its life. And so too has the ThamesEstuary Partnership whose staff have worked long and hard on the management of the HLFproject, also providing office accommodation for some of the team: to them, an especialdebt is owed. A big THANK YOU to you all!
  2. 2. FIELDWORKOur three years have been very busy: the TDP team hasrun over 130 events, including children’s activities andschools sessions, family and adult guided foreshore walksand visits to other sites and museums across GreaterLondon, FROG training and archaeological fieldwork,seminars, workshops, evening lectures and conferences—attended by over 6,000 people. Working with the ForeshoreRecording and Observation Group, we have demonstratedthat site after site is suffering from increased and increasingerosion. This in itself was not a surprise, but the sheer scaleand extent of the problem (comparing the situation now withthat ten or fifteen years ago) was stark. As a consequenceof this dynamic tidal regime, new archaeological featuresare being exposed across the foreshore in Greater Londonand we have made some exciting discoveries over the lastthree years of fieldwork.Given that the Thames foreshore is indeed the longestarchaeological site in London, we will only be able tomonitor a sample of its secrets. The fieldwork team haveselected twenty Survey Zones for our long-term study,based on quality of the features exposed, the severity of theerosion threat, health and safety issues (such as the relativeease of access) and the geographical distribution from eastto west across the Greater London area. Over time, we willbe adding to this list to increase our coverage. Informationabout the 20 Key Sites can be found on our website( all of the sites visited by the TDP teams had previouslybeen observed by the Thames Archaeological Survey in the1990s, and consequently many new features were recordedfor the very first time in 2008-2011. The list includes:  Londons earliest prehistoric structure, a Mesolithic site at Vauxhall  more Saxon fishtraps  a possible medieval jetty structure at Greenwich  early post-medieval river-stair frames near the Tower of London  vessel fragments including part of HMS Duke of Wellington (1852) at Charlton  hitherto unknown type of river ballast lighter from Woolwich  the launch site for the SS Great Eastern at MillwallBy any archaeological standards, this is an impressive haul,especially when set alongside the equally important seriesof features recorded previously. Our vital monitoring workhas shown that, while some of these known features are stillat least partially visible, a number of major ones have beenlost over the last decade, and thus only survive in paperrecords and as photographs. There can be no doubt thatmany chapters of Londons long history can be illuminatedby the TDPs continuing studies on the Thames foreshore.
  3. 3. OUTREACH Our website, the use of Flickr, Vimeo, Facebook and Over the last year the TDP has worked with Twitter platforms and our Wikipedia entry, have schools, family groups and other organisations to proved to be a major element in the TDPs success story. Changes to the TDP website content and develop a variety of resources. These are intended structure will give easier access to data and to make the project more accessible to the wider resources, and introduce visitors to the materials that community, particularly those with little or no back- can be used to explore the rich and varied cultural ground knowledge of archaeology or the Thames. and environmental heritage of the River Thames and Workshops have been developed to encourage the its foreshore. It will include examples of the sources use of materials found during foreshore visits as the available in museums, libraries, archives, and on the basis for whole schemes of work and cross web, and will encourage people to explore the curricular studies by schools and for river-related evidence to be found in the riverside streets and on projects by other groups. These resources also the foreshore itself. This work will contribute to the provide for the needs of other riverside educational long-term sustainability of TDP education and outreach outcomes, and encourage broader groups and organisations, particularly those who participation in the project in the future. can provide access to archaeological artefacts. Resources have also been developed with Art and Ends 30th September 2011! Visit the Design and literacy in mind. Some of the results of Archaeology in Action Gallery at the this work are exhibited in this newsletter (see overleaf). Museum of London, to see the exhibition ‘Lost and Found in the River Thames’. …AND THE FUTURE STARTS HERE! Phase 2: October 2011 and beyondAlthough the HLF grant stops, all is not lost: a core team comprising Nathalie and Eliott will take up newcontracts, as Community Archaeologist and Foreshore Field Officer, with MoLA (Museum of LondonArchaeology) in October 2011. Thus co-ordination, support and development of the FROG and their TDP workwill continue from Mortimer Wheeler House in Eagle Wharf Road. The value for continuing our crucialmonitoring and survey work needs no further justification: we are going to need all of the 300+ certificated,trained FROG members to keep pace with the on-going survey work, especially since we would like toincrease the number of Key Sites we need to monitor from our current sample of twenty. Continuing to raiseawareness of the our work in future years is also important: we are planning more publications, making evenbetter use of our award-winning website, and working on at least two TV programmes for transmission in2012: one will be a "Time Team Special", the other an episode of "Coast". Given that the Thames is unlikely to stop washing our history away, dont put your wellies under the bed just yet; the HLF grant might have run dry, but our river hasnt: the foreshore still needs you!