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New FROG FAQs

Contents

What is the FROG? ......................................................................... 2
What will I be doing as a volunteer? ........................................... 2
How much time is involved?......................................................... 2
What does the training involve? .................................................. 3
Can I attend just part of the course? .......................................... 3
What do I need to bring to the fieldwork? ................................. 3
Do I need a trowel or other equipment? ................................... 4
Do we collect artefacts? .............................................................. 4
How easy is it to access on the foreshore? ................................ 4
Why is the fieldwork so early in the morning? ............................ 5
I find recording really hard, help! ................................................ 5
What is the FROG?
FROG stands for Foreshore Recording and Observation Group – over 600
people who we’ve trained in foreshore archaeology. We have several local
FROGs, teams of volunteers who monitor key sites in a local area.

What will I be doing as a volunteer?
FROG Members do a wide range of activities with us. Once you’ve
completed the FROG Training you can take part in:

Fieldwork – Each year we do fieldwork at about 10 different sites along the
Thames. You can join us for a day or more to help. We clean the features and
record them by drawing a scale plan, taking measurements off a baseline.

Monitoring - visiting a site with a group of other volunteers to check on the
features there. Normally this is just a walk over the foreshore, taking
photographs and making a note of any changes. No drawing is involved!
Most of our Local FROGs do a monthly visit to a site, usually at the weekend.

Other ways to get involved - we always
welcome people doing their own research
related to the foreshore, whether it’s about a
site we’ve been working on or something
you have a personal interest in, and writing
blogs and articles for our website. We also
often need help at outreach events, talking
to the public about our work. We are running
an Oral History Project looking at how
people have used the foreshore, and
volunteers help with the interviews and transcription. Or if you enjoy working
with children and young people, you could help out at our TaDPoles group for
8 – 18 year olds.

How much time is involved?
After you’ve completed your training, it’s up to you how much time you
volunteer with us. Some people come to fieldwork regularly; others help out a
few days a year; some people don’t take part in any fieldwork, but do
monitoring visits, research from home, or help at outreach events or with our
oral history project.

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What does the training involve?
Day 1 is based in the classroom, we’ll be inside all day, covering health and
safety, a background to the project and our sites, and artefacts on the
foreshore. Days 2 – 4 we spend between 3 and 4 hours on the foreshore in the
morning (depending on what the tides are doing) doing fieldwork alongside
existing FROG members. After a break, in the afternoon on Days 2 and 4 we
do a couple more hours of training inside, and on Day 3 we do a guided walk
in the City.

Can I attend just part of the course?
The four day training covers all aspects of foreshore archaeology, and we
cover different things on each day. You need to complete the full four days
of training to be a FROG Member.

What do I need to bring to the fieldwork?
Prepare to get muddy. You will get muddy!

You will need:

 Sturdy boots (walking boots for instance) or wellington boots
 Comfy clothes, that are easy to move in and you don’t mind getting
ruined by mud
 Warm clothes if it’s cold, layers are best. Don't forget a hat and gloves!
The foreshore can be noticeably colder and windier than it is on dry
land.
 Waterproof coat
 Sun cream and a hat if it's sunny.
 Bottle of water
 Snacks (but remember to wash your hands before eating)
 Alcoholic hand gel and/or wet wipes

You might also want to bring:

 Camera
 Change of clothes/shoes (many people just embrace the mud though)
 Knee pads or kneeler
 Walking poles
 Waterproof over trousers
 Shorts are fine to wear in hot weather.

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There isn't anywhere dry and sheltered to leave your bags on the foreshore.
To protect your bag from rain and mud, you might want to put it inside a
plastic bag (a bin liner will do fine). Protective cases for phones, tablets and
cameras are also a good idea.

Do I need a trowel or other equipment?
You don’t need to bring any equipment with you. We will provide you with
everything you need to take part in the training and all our fieldwork sessions,
including work gloves.

We don’t excavate, as the river does it for us, so we don’t regularly use
trowels. If you have your own trowel, you’re welcome to bring it, but be
warned, they can easily get lost in the foreshore mud!

Do we collect artefacts?
Our focus is on the structures and features exposed by the movement of
sediment in the dynamic foreshore environment, and how people have used
the foreshore in the past. We don’t regularly collect artefacts on the
foreshore.

We work closely with the Port of London Authority, and all FROG members
must comply with their requirements to access the foreshore. You do not
need a PLA Permit to Search to be a FROG member and take part in
volunteer activities with Thames Discovery Programme. However, visiting the
foreshore solely to search for artefacts is not part of your role as a FROG
member, and if you intend to do this you are acting independently and must
have a foreshore permit.

How easy is it to access on the foreshore?
All the sites are different and some are easier to
access than others. We check all our sites before
the fieldwork, to make sure the access is safe.

Usually we get onto the foreshore using river stairs or
a causeway, which can be uneven and slippery.
The foreshore surface itself can be very uneven,
with gravel or large stones that you have to
scramble over. Other sites are very muddy, or have
soft areas where you can get stuck.

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Some FROG Members like to bring a walking pole or stick to help them walk
on the foreshore, and check for soft spots.

We aim to be as inclusive as possible. If you have a disability or have
questions about accessing the foreshore and taking part in fieldwork, please
get in touch. We are happy to discuss which sites you might find it easier to
access and work with you so you can take part in our activities.

Why is the fieldwork so early in the morning?
The tides are governed by the moon, which means the lowest tides are
usually overnight and into the morning. So we have lots of early starts!

I find recording really hard, help!
Recording is a skill that can take a while to master; even experienced
archaeologists can find it difficult. Here are a few tips that might help:

 Ask questions - the TDP Team and
experienced FROG members are
always happy to help.
 Practice makes perfect! Hopefully,
after your training you should have
a basic understanding of what’s
involved, but we don’t expect you
to be an expert. The best way to
get better at recording is practice.
Come along to more fieldwork,
there will always be TDP staff and
other volunteers around to support you.
 Check what you’re doing as you go along. If your drawing doesn’t look
like reality, stop and try to work out where you’ve gone wrong.
 Make notes as you are drawing. Some people find it helpful to write the
measurements in the margin as they are called out or draw the scale.
 Be consistent, measure along the baseline first and then from the hand
tape.
 Check the two tape measures are meeting at 90 degrees.
 If you’ve gone wrong, don’t worry! We all do it, and it’s easy to rub it
out and start again.
 We run a Fieldwork Refresher Workshop at the beginning of the year, so
you can refresh your skills indoors before we start our fieldwork season.

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