Thames Discovery Programme has a new home

MOLA team

 The Thames Discovery Programme (TDP), a ground-breaking community archaeology project set up in 2008, looks forward to an exciting programme ahead, as it is taken under the wing of MOLA. The project was also yesterday awarded a prestigious British Archaeological Award for Best Community Archaeology Project.

The project was originally established in order to study and record the fragile archaeology of the Thames inter-tidal zone. Discoveries to date include London’s oldest structure (on the foreshore at Vauxhall), medieval jetties at Greenwich and The Tower of London and the launch slipways for the SS Great Eastern, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. These records are now a valuable educational resource, available for consultation at the Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC).

The TDP has amassed a vital and committed group of volunteers, known as the Foreshore Recording & Observation Group (FROG) that is made up of nearly 400 members of the public, who work all-year-round along the Thames foreshore, supported by a professional team from MOLA.

The Thames continues to yield its secrets as the tide erodes to reveal ancient structures and finds and the vital work of volunteers will now continue under MOLA’s management. This month, MOLA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Thames Estuary Partnership and Thames Explorer Trust, framing their shared commitment to continuing to explore, understand, record and celebrate the river’s famous ‘liquid history’.

The TDP was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) from 2008 to 2011 and has produced an invaluable record of the area’s archaeology. During the past three years, the TDP was run under the auspices of the Thames Estuary Partnership and Thames Explorer Trust, supported by a number of bodies including the Port of London Authority, English Heritage, University College London, the Museum of London, LP Archaeology and MOLA.

Yesterday, the TDP won the award for Best Community Archaeology Project at the 2012 British Archaeological Awards. The award is given for a programme of research advancing the knowledge and practice of archaeology in the UK.

The 2012 British Archaeological Awards were announced at a ceremony held at the British Museum. The purpose of the Awards is to advance public education in the study and practice of archaeology in all its aspects in the UK. The ceremony was also the launch event for the 2012 Festival of British Archaeology, a celebration of archaeology coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology.

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