DigVentures Clay Pipe BowlsValentines day weekend on the Thames: the sun shone, the water glistened, and we fell head over heels for some of the best foreshore archaeology we’d seen in a long long time.

Joining the renowned Thames Discovery Programme for the first of two dirty weekends, our merry band set about cleaning and recording a ‘Grid Iron’ – a solid wooden surface built onto the riverbank to help barges and other cargo vessels land safely on the shoreline. As the tide receded and we cleaned back the surface, it became clear that these timbers had their own tale to tell. The keel and stern-posts set fast into the Thames mud had once belonged to an 18th century war ship – a 74 gun ship of the line that probably served time in the Napoleonic wars.

With evening lectures in the neighbouring Angel pub, and afternoon finds ID sessions from local experts, this was good clean fun at its very best. Can’t wait till the next one!

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Brendon Wilkins

Brendon Wilkins

Co-founder and Projects Director at DigVentures, Brendon heads up our field and post-ex team. Aside from field archaeology, his specialisms are cheese, tea and writing animatedly about himself in the third person.

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