Three Quays update
Museum of London Archaeology are carrying out archaeological excavations, over a period of about sixteen weeks, as part of the redevelopment of the Three Quays site on Lower Thames Street. The work is being undertaken on behalf of Cheval Residences, who are fully funding the archaeological investigations and subsequent analysis and publication of the results. For more background on the site, see our previous update.
Excavations of pile location shafts on the eastern part of the site are now starting to finish in the fifth week of investigation with riverine/foreshore deposits, pre-dating the numerous medieval timber revetments that have so far been exposed, being investigated. In some areas, considerable quantities of the fine, Roman Samian tableware are being found in the foreshore deposits. Earlier preliminary investigations on the site found large amounts of this imported pottery, suggesting possible warehousing or unloading on or near the site. Towards the south of the area, timber piles, which may be of Roman date, are being exposed at depth.
The foundations of the 3rd-century Roman river wall, as described in our earlier update, are being re-buried and preserved. Prior to this, a sample was taken from one of the wall’s foundation piles for dendrochronological dating, which may indicate, accurately, when the wall was being constructed. Several north-south medieval revetments have now been found These are likely to delineate individual properties within the site and emphasise that the waterfronts were constructed at the property holders’ initiatives rather than as a planned corporate exercise.
There continue to be some very interesting finds from medieval dump deposits behind the medieval revetments (generally dated to the 14th century, and including much re-used planking from boats in their structures). As well as personal and domestic objects, such as the ring and candle sconce (holder) illustrated, a very significant object, a set of wooden ‘nippers’ used to temporarily to hold planks together during construction – the medieval equivalent of a G-clamp – has been found. These are, as far as is known, the only example found in this country. There are parallels from Scandinavia, however, associated with boat building suggesting that similar construction techniques were being used here.