Here’s a little taste of what to expect in the book from three of the most magnificent sites along the foreshore:
Royal feasting and lost palaces at Greenwich
The archaeology on the foreshore at the foot of the Old Royal Naval College features the remains of Tudor / Stuart jetties one of which is believed to have led directly to the lost Tudor Greenwich Palace; the birthplace of a number of Tudor monarchs including King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. The vast quantities of animal bone, pottery and shellfish on the foreshore hint at a vast, palatial kitchen operating on an unprecedented scale.
Rotherhithe: final resting place of warships
The Thames foreshore has the largest concentration of broken nautical timbers anywhere in the UK. The discovery of extraordinarily well preserved remains of broken-up Napoleonic era warships: two Danish, one Dutch, one British at Rotherhithe has made for a remarkable study site and Thames Discovery Programme volunteers have worked hard to clean and examine the timbers to deduce more information about them. The rare survival of gun carriages and nautical remains paints a vivid picture of London’s colourful mercantile history and naval might.
Prehistoric structures in Vauxhall
It’s rare to find prehistoric evidence in central London, but down on the foreshore just metres from the MI6 building at Vauxhall, Thames Discovery Programme found the oldest structure recorded in Greater London so far. Made of 6 timber piles, the structure is thought to be a platform or jetty and is believed to be 6000 years old. The structure a fascinating insight into prehistoric London and one of the most significant foreshore finds ever.
‘The river’s tale’: archaeology on the Thames foreshore in Greater London’ is now available to buy from www.mola.org.uk/publications priced £15.00.