DigVenturer Anne-Marie tells us all about her time on the March Dirty Weekend and why she loved becoming a FROG
Just a little bit of Liquid History with DigVentures and the Thames Discovery Programme…
My name’s Anne-Marie Causer, journalist, amateur archaeologist and self-confessed sausage and mash addict. At the end of March I finally became a member of the Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) FROG (Foreshore Recording & Observation Group) courtesy Of DigVentures and the Museum of London…
It’s official – my feet are now webbed. They’ve not been the same since I did my first adventure on the Thames, digging up the gridiron in Bermondsey (And no, it’s not trench foot!).
When I put my wellies and waterproofs on and headed down to the foreshore on the morning of the 16th March, I knew that I was in for a dirty time. DigVentures doesn’t call them Dirty Weekends for nothing, you know!
There is only a four hour window to dig between tides on the Thames and the first day was all about uncovering a gridiron – 17th century frigate timbers laid down on the banks of the Thames to form a bed for ship repair activities. The archaeology was stunning because it was all around. I’ve never before dug at a site where 16th century material lies nestled next to 18th century finds, which are in turn next to prehistoric peat deposits!
Lunchtime saw us decamping back to HQ, a pub of course, The Angel in Bermondsey for a hearty lunch and some refreshments of the hop and malt variety. The talks from UCL’s Gus Milne on the changing face of the Thames during the second world war and Wendy the Mudlarker’s career were amazing. I just wonder how many university students would be more behaved and inclined to go to lectures if the pub was their lecture theatre…?
The second day saw us wading back down through the silt to uncover the gridiron for recording and surveying purposes (thank goodness for hardy perma-trace in the less than forgiving weather). We then took a trip to the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe which included a glimpse of the shaft from where Brunel constructed the underground Thames Tunnel, a rare treat indeed for archaeology buffs.
One of the greatest parts of the weekend for me was meeting like-minded people. One thing I’ve learned about archaeology over the years is that that you become part of a global family. Archaeology is all about the journey of where we have come from and this is so important when it comes to knowing who we are today. I can’t wait for my next journey…
Anne-Marie is a journalist with interests in the marine industry, diabetes, health, the charitable sector and archaeology.
Personal website: http://amcauser.co.uk/
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