Major new marine archaeology project

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Photo: The TDP announced the new masterplan for monitoring foreshore archaeology in the UK at its annual conference

The Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) is celebrating its fifth birthday in a huge way by announcing its next project - a nationwide community archaeology programme to monitor and research every coastal and foreshore site in the UK.

TDP began leading efforts to record the largest archaeological site in the UK, the River Thames, back in 2008. Since then, it has trained over 450 volunteers for its Foreshore Recording & Observation Group (known as FROGs) and monitored over 60 sites on the Thames, making it one of the nation’s largest community archaeology programmes.

But now it wants to get even larger. At its annual conference called the TDP Foreshore Forum last weekend, the programme announced the launch of the new Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network – CITiZAN.

The new project is modelled on the success of the TDP and Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Programme (SCHARP).

CITiZAN will divide the coast into 22 zones under the control of three regional centres. CITiZAN South run at the Museum of London, CITiZAN North at the Council for British Archaeology in York and CITiZAN West at the Nautical Archaeology Society in Portsmouth.

As Gustav Milne, TDP, explained, the aim of the project is to “train lots of people to visit the foreshore on a regular basis and record what they see. It’s volunteer led monitoring at its best.”

“CITiZANs” will record and monitor what is going on at sites across the UK including deserted medieval ports, ships and salt production sites and work collaboratively with groups around the country to keep an eye on what’s really going on at the foreshore.

They will be able to update site information on a new website which will contain in depth archaeological data from all coastal and intertidal sites around the UK.

CITiZAN is in its early development stage and the TDP will be applying for Heritage Lottery Funding. If this is successful the programme could be rolled out from October 2014.