Down by the Shore…..

On a truly gorgeous April morning (the hottest day of the year so far, fact fans), over forty FROG members, mudlarkers and members of the public assembled at the Queen’s Stairs on the Tower Wharf to explore the beach, hunt for artefacts and examine the structures surviving on the foreshore. The easternmost end of this foreshore zone is of particular interest as the area is eroding dramatically, and it was here that we focused our attention. Eliott and Gustav from the Thames Discovery Programme were on hand to describe the remains of the river stair and the make up of the riverside walls we recorded in July 2010, and the members of the Society of Thames Mudlarks and the Thames and Field Metal Detecting Society were quick to ‘get their eye in’ and, together with the other event attendees, collected three Roman coins, medieval tokens and coins, musket balls, fragments of glass, a worked bone knife handle, pot sherds, a fantastic clay pipe, a lump of coral and many more treasures, from the foreshore surface.

….And in the Castle

After a rather exciting morning and a quick ice cream break, we reassembled at the Middle Drawbridge to enter the Tower of London, where we spent the afternoon in the Education Centre (huge thanks to Historic Royal Palaces for hosting us). The Mudmen from the Thames and Field Metal Detecting Society had brought a wonderful display of finds recovered from the beach over the years, including cannon balls and chain mail, and we watched some of the TDP films. Nathalie from TDP and Mark from MoLA Geomatics presented a summary of the recent archaeological work on the foreshore, and further research funded by the Crown Estate’s Marine Stewardship Fund, Jane (Curator of Buildings at the Tower) described the history and development of the Tower Wharf, and Graham (the Tower’s Consultant Archaeologist) further discussed the issue of erosion of the beach deposits. At the end of the day, everyone was then able to explore the Tower of London in the sunshine.

We hope everyone enjoyed the day, and look forward to returning to the Tower Beach in July 2011 during the Festival of British Archaeology!