What’s to come
Written by The TDP Team

New t-shirts for a new year

It’s 2014: a new year, a fresh start and a whole lot more foreshore archaeology on the way. We’re gearing up for a packed year of fieldwork, workshops and lectures. In this issue you can read about upcoming events and news from the autumn/ early winter. In line with other 5th anniversary events we redesigned our t-shirts (left), which are available to order on our website in two colours! Also new

this year is our newsletter design. We’re very grateful for our friends Audrey and Dawn who donated their time to design it. The new year has also brought a series of storms that have caused flooding and tidal surges up and down the coasts of the UK, putting foreshore and intertidal archaeology in the news all winter. The TDP regularly tweets maritime archaeology news so if you aren’t already, go on, follow us! g

From the Rose to the roof
Written by The TDP Team

The TDP joined up with the Council for British Archaeology London (CBAL) for the Bankside Archaeology Day. The day included a guided walk on the foreshore with the TDP, a walk with Amelia Fairman around some of the Thameslink sites that Pre-Construct Archaeology have recently dug, a tour around the remains of Winchester Palace with Becky Wallower (CBAL), and a lecture by co-director of the famed Rose Theatre excavation, Julian Bowsher (MOLA), at the Globe and Rose Theatre dig sites. A definite highlight of the day was the trip up the belfry at Southwark Cathedral (right). Though the walk up the narrow, dark and windy staircase was a bit terrifying, the view was astounding! Unfortunately it was already high tide by the time we made it up to the top. The CBAL group run events regularly, the majority of which are open to the public. Visit them on their website to find out more.

The view from the rooftop of Southwark Cathedral


Events FROG News

2 3

Feature Feature

4 5

Other News



4 February

Don’t know what you found on the foreshore? Want to see what other people have been picking up? Need some information about a mystery object? Why not come along to the TDP’s Riverpedia event, Foreshore Roadshow! We’ll be joined by finds specialists from Museum of London Archaeology and the Portable Antiquities Scheme who will be on hand to identify your artefacts. You’ll be able to see what other people have been finding and learn more about the artefacts you’ve been collecting. This event will be held at the Terrace Gallery, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London, EC2Y 5HN. Doors open at 6pm and the ticket price includes a glass of wine. To book your place see our website:

2 April


15 April

Join us in Greenwich! The day will begin with a guided walk on the foreshore, and after lunch there will be talks at Discover Greenwich from the TDP, the Greenwich FROG and Julian Bowsher from MOLA. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be flowing...
Watch this space!
7 April

Nathalie Cohen will be giving a lecture titled ‘Tales from the Thames: Community Archaeoogy on London’s River’ at the prestigious Society of Antiquaries. The lecture is free and open to all. It will take place at 1pm at Burlington House, Piccadilly W1J 0BE.
For more information see society-of-antiquaries-publiclectures
March, April


Eliott Wragg will be the guest speaker at the Croydon NHSS. He’ll be speaking about maritime archaeology using examples from the TDP’s fieldwork. The lecture will be held in held in the Small Hall of the United Reformed Church Hall, Addiscombe Grove, East Croydon, just opposite East Croydon Station at 7:45pm.
For more information see nautical-remains-on-the-foreshore


Before we could get this newsletter out, the upcoming FROG Training sessions in March and April sold out. There may be another opportunity to train later this year, which will be announced in the next issue of this newsletter.


Feeling generous? You can easily donate at

follow us

City FROG recording a quern stone Photo: Solange LaRose The Greenwich FROG recording the Tudor jetty Photo: Helen Johnston


CITY FROG One of the aims of the Thames Discovery Programme is to reach out and connect

with other individuals and groups who are working in, or interested in working in, intertidal contexts, so it was a bit of a no-brainer that we should link up with our friends at City of London Archaeological Society (COLAS) for some foreshore work. As announced at the TDP’s annual Foreshore Forum, December saw a joint TDP/ COLAS weekend of recording structures and features on the foreshore at Swan Wharf and Canon Street. More than one person asked me what I thought I was doing booking fieldwork for the depths of mid-winter, but actually we were extremely lucky with the weather and had two days of fine clear sunshine. With 18 people participating over the two days, we managed to get the whole of the ‘at risk’ section of Swan Wharf recorded, as well as some other groups of timbers. In addition, a small team worked on recording the Roman quern stone near Cousin Lane Stairs and, by the good graces of the weather gods who sent a nice low tide, they even managed to locate another two pieces of quern stone lower down on the foreshore. As there’s loads of recording to do at this site, we’ll be planning return visits, again with FROGs and COLAS members, so FROGS can look out on the Ning network for dates. g In November we heard that we had been given Scheduled Monument Consent from English Heritage to monitor and record the area around the Tudor jetty at Greenwich Palace. It’s great that English Heritage recognises the importance of the work that we do. We will be doing more over the next few years to try and get a better understanding of this area. The winter storms have caused a lot of erosion across the site, especially around the medieval jetty, where two of the baseplates have now disappeared. We’ve also had more new features appear, including a causeway in front of the Naval College steps and a very neat chalk bargebed. We’ve also spent some time looking at an area with a lot of clay pipes. Could they be waste from the pipe kilns on Crane Street? And finally, as part of our ongoing quest to put the key sites in context we had a great walk looking at the industrial remains on the foreshore from the Dome to the Anchor and Hope pub in Charlton. g




TDP staff and volunteers in front of the 1941 Wolrd War II bomb damaged river wall

Houses of Parliament In August last year the Thames Discovery Programme had the privilege of being foreshore invited to explore and record the foreshore at Victoria Tower Gardens, adjacent
Written by Jo Warren

to the Palace of Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. A site as famous as this provides a daunting task, but as ever a team of dedicated FROGs braved the elements, with fascinating results. A key find was a number of intricately detailed pieces of moulded stone (left), which are thought to relate to previous phases of the Palace of Westminster. James Wright, Standing Buildings specialist from Museum of London Archaeology was on hand to provide us with some tips and advice, and in total 72 fragments were drawn and recorded. The results have now been digitized and James is working on further analysis, but it is possible that some of these architectural fragments relate to the phases of building before a fire destroyed the complex in 1834, and new buildings were re-designed by architect Charles Barry and one Augustus W. N. Pugin. Exciting developments are also afoot for the prehistorians amongst us, with samples of bone being collected from rapidly eroding peat deposits on the foreshore. It has not yet been possible to give these an absolute date, but other deposits in the area have been dated to the early Bronze Age. Previously, part of a human skull had been found on the site, but in August other fragments were also identified – one a human femur with wear patterns indicating long deposition in the water, and another sample of burnt animal bone thought to be cattle, horse or red deer. Noted too was an area of bomb damage on the river wall (above) which was also recorded in August. Some detective work byTDP Director Gustav Milne has revealed that the river police reported the damage on the 16th of March 1941. This provided an excellent opportunity to combine documentary, photographic and archaeological records. Research on the site is ongoing, and we hope to return in the future to explore the archaeology further – so watch this space! To see more photos visit g

Moulded stone from the foreshore



FROGs at Fulham recording the possible wicker hurdle

The possible wicker hurdle in detail

Fulham and Putney fieldwork The last week of summer season fieldwork saw the team working on two sites on report the south bank at Putney (FWW03 and FWW04) and on the north bank at Fulham
Written by Eliott Wragg

Palace (FHM07). At Putney we returned to an old stomping ground between Putney Bridge and Putney Railway Bridge (FWW03) where we had previously recorded part of the foundation of the 18th century Putney Bridge and a post-medieval box drain and causeway. This year we concentrated on what Nathalie had previously identified as a ‘long hard thing’, comprising a linear arrangement of large re-used masonry including some very nicely carved and moulded stones, which lay directly in front of the river wall and ran some 150m upstream from the Hurlingham Yacht Club. While doing detailed recording of the more intricate masonry pieces we also had a good think about the structure’s function by looking at how it related to the river wall. The structure coincided with a stretch of low, slightly sloping, probably earlymid 19th century brick wall, which had been heightened with a much later concrete addition, and it butted up against the rubble back fill within the wall’s construction cut. It seems most likely that the weight of the later addition was causing the lower brickwork to start to move and collapse and thus the large foreshore structure was built to stabilise the lower wall. Each day towards the time of low tide we dashed downstream to the next site along (FWW04) where Pamela Greenwood from Wandsworth Historical Society has been recording prehistoric horizons and Saxon fish traps for 40 years. We re-recorded one of the fish traps but also observed two intact prehistoric horizons, greyish green sand overlying peat, out of which were eroding a number of sherds of Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age pottery and a flint of possibly earlier date. At the weekend we crossed over the river to Fulham Palace (FHM07) to investigate a possible wickerwork structure that we first observed whilst monitoring the site in 2012. Although very fragile, we were able to gently clean and record what turned out to be a brushwood panel visible for about 7m in length and 1m in width which appeared to lie on top of a similar greyish green sand layer recorded on the other bank, suggesting a possible prehistoric date for the structure. Indeed a sherd of prehistoric pottery was recovered from close by. While it seemed as though it could possibly have been some sort of prehistoric causeway (albeit unlikely given that it ran parallel to the river wall) or a platform for fishing, we were very unsure and so brought in the big guns of Jon Cotton (ex Museum of London Prehistoric Curator) and Professor Martin Bell (Professor of Archaeology, University of Reading) to see what they thought. Their verdict was that it was more likely to be a wicker hurdle which had fallen over, possibly from an Anglo-Saxon fish trap; samples were taken for Radiocarbon dating so watch this space for results! g

This Christmas, I was on holiday in Australia, and through the wonders of Twitter, I had an invitation to speak at the Nicholson Museum, part of the University of Sydney. The Nicholson Museum is home to the largest collection of antiquities in both Australia and the southern Hemisphere. Founded in 1860, the collection spans the ancient world with primary collection areas including Greece, Italy, Egypt, Cyprus, and the Near East. They also have a collection of British artefacts, including these amazing fake, lead ‘medieval’ figurines (below). Charles Nicholson acquired them in the 1860s, via an antiques dealer, from two Thames Mudlarks, William Smith and Charles Eaton (Billy and Charley), who variously claimed to have found them on the foreshore in Shadwell, and on a church excavation near St Pancras. However, it turned out that Billy and Charley were manufacturing artefacts by the thousand at premises near the Tower of London! These artefacts form part of the wonderful “50 Objects, 50 Stories” exhibition at the museum. Also currently on the display is the Lego Acropolis ( exhibitions-events/lego-acropolis.shtml) – Lego Pompeii is coming next year! On the 16th of December, over 100 Sydneysiders turned up to hear (a slightly jetlagged!) talk all about the Thames Discovery Programme – maybe we could set up the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Survey in the future! The tidal range is not anywhere as great as that on the river, but enough is exposed at low tide that interesting features are visible – for example at Cremorne Wharf (above), where you can see the remains of mooring chains and other features. There are lots of other London links to be made in Sydney too, for example – a number of the First Fleet vessels were either built or ended their lives on the Thames, while the range of post-medieval and Victorian artefacts from waterside excavations and now on display in places like the Rocks Discovery Museum (therocks. com/things-to-do/the-rocksdiscovery-museum.aspx) would be Fake ‘medieval’ figurines familiar to any foreshore explorer!

Cremorne Wharf foreshore in Sydney Harbour

The plus side of the erosion on the Thames foreshore is old material coming to the surface after being buried for centuries. The down side is some of the historic structures revealed are disappearing as the shore that kept them in place erodes away. In 2013 we saw substantial parts of two medieval jetties, at Tower of London and at Greenwich Palace, float away down the Thames: gone forever. Fortunately the TDP faithfully recorded, photographed and measured the structures where our ancestors once walked. Greenwich was the centre of Tudor England and accessed more by the river than the road. A trickle of finds shows Roman activity here. One wonders if the erosion continues we will lose most of the archaeology and be down to only the prehistoric in a couple of years! We are perhaps fortunate in the circumstances to be involved in an interesting time of discovery. What next? A Viking ship from the siege of London, Anglo-Saxon brooches, a Celtic bronze shield or two, or where Caesar actually crossed the Thames would not go amiss.
By Christopher Gunstone

are part of the ‘50 Objects, 50 Stories’ exhibition at the Nicholson Museum in Sydney

By Nathalie Cohen




The FROGs after a day of knapping, with tutors Jon Cotton and James Dilley

Riverpedia Workshop: Flint! Smashing up any misconceptions about prehistoric people – as well as some large Review lumps of rock – was the order of the day at TPD’s Riverpedia Workshop ‘Flint!’ on
Written by Claire Millington

The Riverpedia workshop and lecture series provides learning opportunities for the FROG volunteers and the general public.

17 January. Archaeologist Jon Cotton presented an overview of flint’s utility at a time when survival was regularly at stake. Flint is widespread across Britain and can be broken predictably when struck – ‘knap’ is Dutch for ‘snap’ – to create a variety of tools. But flints also offer evidence indicating aesthetic or spiritual aspects of prehistoric cultures, for example, through the relationship seen between some objects and the flint colour chosen, as in the case of ‘leaf’ and ‘barbed and tanged’ arrowheads, which tend to be orange. Or my favourite, a small circular flint, roughly knapped to leave a fossil shell at its centre, and serving no obvious purpose. It could simply have been a souvenir from a prehistoric walk. The earliest evidence for hominids in London comes from around 400,000 years ago, but evidence of earlier peoples may have been lost – or could still emerge. Importantly for FROGS finding ancient foreshore timber, is to note that it can be possible to tell from the particular signature that axes leave on a stump of wood, whether that axe was of metal or stone. We don’t actually know who it was who did the knapping – men, women or children – or, as Jon thinks likely, everybody knapped flint to some extent. Excavations have shown debitage – waste – from flint knapping mapped to the remains of hearths, suggesting the activity was communal. Worked flint also has a history of re-use, for example, by Romans who thought they were thunderbolts thrown by Jupiter and could ward off lightning if put in roofs, and there have also been forgers such as Sir Jack Evans, a 19th century antiquarian who also supplied a market in antique fakes. Nor is all worked flint ancient – it was used well into the 19th century for gun flint-lock making. So there’s a lot to think about in the wider history of flints. Flint is still knapped by hobbyists and archaeologists, and in the afternoon James Dilley, an expert in ancient crafts, demonstrated the level of skill and different techniques required by knapping. He produced two different types of hand axes before letting us each have a go – and, by our rather less successful efforts, we also demonstrated the skill required. I found the whole day great fun and informative – and think it will help us better identify flints from the foreshore. To see more photos visit g

Foreshore Forum review
Written by Selina Springbett

In October 2013 TDP celebrated their 5th birthday with a 2-day conference that brought together academics, specialists and FROGS to present a range of papers on maritime and community archaeology. The conference highlighted what the TDP has achieved in its short lifetime as well as some of the other developments not just along the Thames but also around the coastline of the UK. Foreshore Forum 2014 will be a joint conference with the Nautical Archaeology Society on 15-16 November
Day 1 gave a chance to catch up with TDP’s big picture, followed by a morning spent moving up river with the FROGs from ‘a load of codswallop’ from Richmond, under the ghost bridges of the Thames, past Greenwich and ‘that brick thing’ they discovered, and finally to Crowley’s Wharf; demonstrating that there was life on the Greenwich peninsula before the Dome. After lunch, having reflected on what CBA and NAS had learnt over the last 10 years of community archaeology from the efforts of FROGs and their colleagues across the country, we let the professionals tell us how they do it with reports from the banks of the Walbrook and waterlogged Roman site there; the excavations of the Deptford Naval Dockyard at the Kings Yard and a discussion of the remains of the Buried Forest at Erith and their place in the grander scheme of things. Last, but not least, we heard about TDP and MOLA’s new project – CITiZAN, which embraces the intertidal zone all round the UK, linking up with other similar projects and filling in the gaps between. On Day 2 we heard more FROG news from the foreshore, starting in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe with a whistle-stop tour from the Neolithic to the present day, reflections on the ship breakers on that part of the foreshore, and an update on researches into the whaling industry based there. We then moved upriver to the complexities of the foreshore at Vauxhall, and across the Thames to an overview of activity by the City and the Swan. Finally, we heard from academics and professionals that told of the work being undertaken in the intertidal zone in South Wales, the Solent and the Severn Estuary from the Mesolithic to the present day, finishing with the latest news from the Scottish Heritage at Risk Project. We ended with a presentation by the TDP team who geared us up for another exciting year on the foreshore. We’re looking forward to next year’s conference! For more details on the 2013 conference see g

Tel. 0207 410 2207 TDP, Mortimer Wheeler House 46 Eagle Wharf Road, London N1 7ED

Eliott Nathalie Courtney

The Thames Discvoery Programme is hosted by Museum of London Archaeology

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful