Thames Discovery Tadpoles discoveries (c) MOLA

FROGs, Tadpoles and Foreshore Fun at 2019 Forum

Thames Discovery Programme Team

On 7th December 2019, the Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) hosted it’s 11th annual Foreshore Forum. Held at the Wolfson Lecture Theatre at the London School of Economics, the day was generously supported by Tideway who have partnered with us for the last three years. The day began with a moment to reflect on Theresa O’Mahoney, a FROG and advocate for enabled archaeology who sadly passed away in the months before the conference.

Eliott Wragg kicked off proceedings, as ever, with his overview of another successful year packed with fascinating fieldwork and exciting events. These included two very successful FROG (Foreshore Recording & Observation Group) training days, which saw two new members join our ranks. James Ward and Liz Anderson followed with two excellent presentations on their mudlarking finds which also told the story of how these finds linked specifically with the areas in which they had been found. Angela Broomfield then discussed the work of the CRaFT project examining the causeways, river stairs and ferry terminals of London, run in partnership by the TDP and CoLAS (City of London Archaeological Society). The session was rounded off by Nat Cohen, who discussed the London of Thomas Beckett, including how the city would have been known to him and was subsequently shaped by his martyrdom.

After lunch, the second session had a distinct Tideway flavour. Josh Frost started with a look back at the last year of work with younger Londoners, especially the incredible expansion of the Tadpoles programme. This was followed by a talk given by one of our Tadpoles, Rosie, discussing what she had learnt from her time on the foreshore. Rosie did a fantastic job and was the first ever Tadpole to speak at a Foreshore Forum. Jack Russell from Tideway and Alex Blanks both spoke on the amazing archaeology that has been excavated during the works on the tunnel, including at Chambers Wharf, downstream from the Tower of London, and the intriguing site at Barn Elms. Will Rathouse spoke just before the tea break about his first year working with the team at MOLA and his plans for the City Bridge Project with older Londoners.

Tea consumed, the conversation moved outside of London, as Gus Milne described the exciting new work being undertaken by CITiZAN (Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network) and their six new Discovery Programmes which are exploring intertidal archaeology across England. Stephen Fisher then shared his research into the archaeology of D-Day that can be found in the UK, from reused sections of Mulberry Harbours, to roads widened for tanks, it was a truly remarkable introduction to an area few of us were aware of. Helen Johnston then presented the outcomes of the volunteer survey and theory of change workshops, as well as where the TDP might be headed.

In traditional form the day was concluded by Jane Sidell and the FROG awards which recognise the huge contribution of our volunteers. Congratulations to Clive, Rosie, Monika and Selina on their awards! Many thanks to Tideway for supporting the 2019 Foreshore Forum and to the London School of Economics for hosting us. For more information about the TDP and how to get involved visit our website

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