View of the Byward Tower, Tower of London and City Hall.
So today, Tuesday 15th July, my fortnight of archaeology kicked off again. There had been opportunities for archaeology over the weekend, and indeed I did help out with some monitoring and a guided walk on Saturday evening, very calm serene and unstressfull over at Greenwich. But, needing a rest, I had to pass up the other delights on offer to save myself for the big event, the Tower of London foreshore fieldwork week which runs into and combines with The Tower Open Foreshore event for the public.
So this morning I arrived at the Tower Queen’s Stairs to find not only FROGs, but also a smattering of Mudlarks getting ready to go down on the foreshore, including the Thames and Field legend, Woolwich John or WJ as we call him.
MOLA surveying equipment ready for action on the foreshore.
When Natalie gave us the walkover, it soon became apparent that we would not be working in our old haunts by the Coffer Dam, as this was now so erroded that the PLA had put up a protective barrage consisting of nets full of stone and concrete rubble. Apparently this can be removed if necessary.
Facing outwards from the river stairs by the ferry terminal.
Next to the Ferry terminal there is a large set of stone river stairs, and some of the stonework here is very old. However, what Nathalie was interested in this time was not the age of the stairs, rather that there appeared to be graffitti there. So a small group of us volunteered to clean off the mud and slime and investigate. we found one slab with a list of names carved deeply, one slab with a few more lightly traced lines and letters, and one on the other side of the wall bearing the legend A Neve 192 (?) The pictures below give an idea of what it all looked like;
Examples of Graffitti when cleaned.
But how to record this? After trial and error we found that slapping permatrace on the slabs and tracing the outline worked, and we did this with a final clean copy with the outline carefully traced- I have seen something like this used on Roman inscriptions in archaeology reports, but it must be said it caused some hilarity as I carefully traced out the final copy!
And then it was time to leave. It had been a good first day, and more tomorrow!