thames discovery programme

Tripcockness FGW23
The zone is approximately 700m long and 60m wide. The only access to the site is via a short flight of stone stairs in the centre of the zone; the stairs can be slippery, especially at the base, and lack a handrail. The safest way to access the central part of the foreshore is through the reeds at the bottom of the embankment, where there is a solid concrete base. The upstream end of the zone is defined by a minewatching post and by the modern red pylon downstream. The ground conditions on the site are generally firm where consolidated by dumped material, however parts of the foreshore surface are very soft and there is a danger of sinking into muddy deposits.

archaeological and historical background
prehistoric A number of trial holes in the area of the site have revealed charcoal, burnt flint fragments, animal bone and struck flints sealed by deposits dating to the Late Mesolithic- Early Neolithic period. On the foreshore itself there are peat deposits and tree remains which probably date to the Late Neolithic- Early Bronze Age period. roman Excavations at the Thamesmead estate have revealed field systems and pottery dating to the 3rd-4th centuries AD suggesting agricultural activity in the area during this period. medieval Towards the end of the Roman period it appears that the area behind the site was reverting to marshland; a situation which prevailed until the land was reclaimed in the 19th and 20th centuries. On the higher ground to the south-east, Lesnes Abbey was founded in 1174 and paid for by Richard de Lucy, Chief Justice of England, possibly to atone, in part, for the recent murder of Thomas a’ Becket. post medieval While the area immediately behind the site remained as marshland for a long time, great developments were occurring to the south. In 1513 the Royal Dockyard was founded, while, closer to the site, in 1671, the first Ordnance depot was established at ‘the Warren’ in Tower Place. At Woolwich, the Royal Laboratory was founded in 1695 and the Royal Foundry in 1717. In the early 19th century what had become known as the Royal Arsenal was a hotbed of scientific and engineering progress; such luminaries as Samuel Bentham, Marc Brunel and Henry Maudslay were driving the industrial revolution forward from one of the hearts of the burgeoning military/naval/industrial/ trading complex which temporarily raised Great Britain to a unique position in the world. By the height of World War I, the Arsenal had expanded up to and beyond the area of the site and now encompassed some 1,300 acres and employed around 80,000 people. This expansion would have involved a large deal of land reclamation which may explain the four hulked lighters deliberately beached on the site as a river defence. In World War II, the Royal Arsenal and the Thames were key strategic objectives for the Luftwaffe who, whilst attempting to bomb factories and cities out of existence, also targeted the river for minelaying. As a result, a number of minewatching posts were established; an example of which still stands within the zone. The Ordnance factories closed in 1967, although the MoD maintained a presence on parts of the site until 1994.

A301 A302 A303 A304 A305 A306 A307 A308 A309 A310 A311 A312 A313 A314 A315 A316 A317 A318 A319 A320

Watercraft Watercraft Watercraft Watercraft Structure Deposit Consolidation Consolidation Consolidation Drain Structure Structure (unclassified)? Deposit Access Structure Structure Deposit Riverfront defence Deposit Consolidation

Hulked vessel; barge Hulked vessel; barge Hulked vessel; barge Hulked vessel; barge Mine watching post; concrete Peat; exposed at base of foreshore across much of the zone Masonry: large reused moulded blocks, in front of A304 Masonry: large reused moulded blocks, downstream of A305 Dumped deposit, includes large amounts of ‘bucket shaped’ slag Modern ceramic drain encased with concrete Revetment: line of nine small squared posts, with a further three posts set slightly in front Isolated posts and small groups at intervals along lower part of the foreshore, temporary mooring ? Large trees exposed at downstream end of zone Stone stairs Revetment: line of vertical stakes, immediately upstream of A301 Revetment: line of vertical stakes, near access stairs A314 Two very large trees exposed immediately below A301 Masonry embankment of granite blocks, rebuilds / repairs visible. Large upright tree stump Masonry: rough rubble laid to form surface

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