Tower of London archaeology

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Photo: The Tower Hill foreshore needs to be carefully monitored for erosion

The Tower Hill foreshore saw a flurry of activity recently as the Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) performed their annual archaeological survey of the area.

The TDP Foreshore Recording & Observation Group (FROG) had a remit to record changes that have taken place to the site over the last year – because of tidal erosion the site is one of the most fragile on the Thames foreshore.

It has suffered significant erosion since the 1990s especially at the eastern end of Tower Bridge where a previously unexposed structure, probably an 18th century river stair or jetty, has been discovered.

Work at the site this year was focused on a close examination of the post-medieval riverside wall, which because of erosion now has its foundations exposed and is at risk of collapse.

Joining the FROGS were the Society of Thames Mudlarks, the Thames and Field Metal Detecting Society and the Portable Antiquities Scheme to carry out a finds survey.

Notable finds over the years have included a cannon ball, a syphilis syringe, Roman through medieval coinage and a whale bone.

The TDP builds on initiatives pioneered by the Museum of London’s Thames Archaeological Survey that took place between 1993 and 1999.

Many of the exposed archaeological sites on the Thames are often unrecognised and unprotected and almost all are vulnerable to the twice daily scouring of the tidal river, thus requiring close monitoring by the programme.