Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A spot of archeology

Smitonius:

Spotted a fun and free activity in London over the weekend: a bit of archeology on the Thames foreshore courtesy of Thames Discovery. We joined a very long queue of children and adults, but saw we weren't that prepared (forgot Wellington boots!), though we had remembered a trowel and aplastic bag for finds. It was a hot day and some canoeists had already landed on the foreshore ahead of us.

As we waited to be allowed down the steps, slipping on the obligatory gloves as the Thames is polluted, we heard that yesterday someone found a Georgian coin. What would we find?

Trying to find a free bit of foreshore was challenging enough. But we were soon picking up bits of pottery, bones, oyster shells and, even, an old and interesting bottle top: a company called Brooke and Prudencio who bottled ginger beer and lemonade from 1890 to 1960s.

The tide was rising fast, so we had about an hour trawling under the Traitors Gate:

Someone found an old pilgrim badge and one woman did find another coin, because we saw her declare her treasure afterwards. Although we found nothing of value, and some distinctly spooky bones (that is an inside of a cow's leg, said the expert, and that is a sheep's tooth), we did collect some old pipe stems, and pits of pottery that ranged from the 16th century to the Victorian period (or so we were told and I will go along with that!)


9 comments:

Marcheline said...

Great post, but unfortunately a few of your photos are just a blank space that says "this photo currently unavailable". Can you fix?

Mac n' Janet said...

I couldn't see your photos either. How did you get permission to do this it sounds fantastic.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Thanks to the both of you, have managed to restore the images!

The Thames Discovery programme appears to have organised it - keep an eye on their website.

Tattie Weasle said...

WOW My boys would love that! Will def keep an eye on their website. What a brillaint thing to do!

June said...

Imagine that. You have pieces of dishes that people's hands touched in 1500-something! I love that thought...
You inspired me to read a little about the Traitors Gate. I can't imagine hanging around any structure as old as that, either. The idea enchants me as much as the dishes.
I trust there were no disembodied heads on pikes.

Friko said...

Now that's what I call a fun day out with the kids. Get them out of the house and interested in something other than computer games.
You never know, you might have unearthed a lifelong interest here.

colleen said...

I love the banks of the Thames, the old bricks that get rounded off by the tides and the detritus of lives lived over hundreds of years. And do you know this particular piece of beach used to be open to the public. Covered in sand it became a beach for holidaying at home. They would lower some stairs, charge you 3d and you could hire deckchairs and sit in the sun until the tide rose again. My mum has pictures of me and my cousins on it and we are -wait for it - paddling in the river in our cozzies. Some of us are still alive to tell the tale.

Marcheline said...

Wicked cool! Glad the pics are back! You should make a mosaic with them... maybe a backsplash for your kitchen. (Can you tell I watch too much DIY tv?)

Lucille said...

I did this spontaneously one day and was amazed by how much pottery I found and dozens of little bits of clay pipe. I can't wait to go back, but must consult tide tables first!