Thames Time

Here are a few shots of the River from this week’s TDP fieldwork and monitoring visits.

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It’s been a busy busy week, with fieldwork at Surrey Docks City Farm and the Houses of Parliament, and FROG visits at Vauxhall and the City foreshore at Cannon Street.

First Surrey Docks, where we were helping the people at the City Farm to fill in some detail in their research into the history of the area by recovering and recording some of the foreshore archaeology.

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Then a training / data gathering session using the 1m hand auger at Bermondsey. Here we were looking at some prehistoric peat deposits.

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At Westminster, TDP had been contacted by the Curator of the historic collections at the Houses of Parliament to do some recording of WW2 bomb damage, and artifacts, especially stonework, on the foreshore in front of Victoria Tower Gardens and Black Rod Stairs. Access to most of this area is usually prohibited, but during this fieldwork session, we are allowed to go along as far as the river will allow to recover chunks of decorated stonework that have either fallen or been dumped.

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I took a couple of days out from the Westminster fieldwork to do visits to my regular sites. First Vauxhall, to get some pictures of this timber.

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I did have some other goals for this visit, but it was pouring with rain and the river would not co-operate, so they just go on the list for next time.

Next the City foreshore at Cousin Lane, for the section between Cannon Street and London Bridges.

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The ground surface here is almost all made up, rather than natural ground levels, and there are always huge quantities of finds, as the barge beds here have been built up, in part, using dumped rubbish.  We always find medieval and post medieval pottery, clay pipes, tiles, stonework and on and on. There are also regular finds of Roman material, albeit in smaller quantities. This visit was notable because we were all picking up bits and bobs of Roman detritus, including some decorated and plain samian, bits of grey wares,  a big chunk of tegula and a small chunk of opus signinum. Good stuff

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Lastly, I was back at Westminster for a session of recording some of the molded stonework. Here’s my effort.

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On the way back towards the tube, me and John spotted some commotion around Vauxhall Bridge, with police, ambulance and river police all rushing upstream. A jumper, we guessed.

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It seems that this may have been the case and the man in question was rescued and taken ashore at St. George’s Wharf. I always think that it’s a miracle that they manage to get anyone out alive, as the currents are treacherous and very very strong, but their responses are super fast and well co-ordinated. Good work guys, and lets hope that the man in question gets some help to make the most of his second chance.

For more about the work of the TDP and the FROG, visit the regular blog of the Vauxhall FROG, Fauxhall on Thames, and @Scruffy Archer’s FROG BLOG.

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