Missed the Prince Andrew interview and the Boris v Corbyn debate

Look, I’m keen on politics and current affairs, although I’m pleased to say that for both TV performances, Prince Andrew interview and the Boris v Corbyn debate I was otherwise engaged.

Yesterday evening I was entertained at a meeting of the Surrey Industrial History Group by Jon Cotton’s lecture on The Archaeology of London’s River.

Jon described the evolution of the Thames, its frequent times of flooding, the numerous important finds from the river, some by mudlarks, some through dredging, and some through archaeological digs. One such find is a celtic Horned Helmet, the only one found in the UK, and now in the British Museum.

Here are some of the photos from Jon’s presentation, including a number of a frozen river Thames, although the one from 1881 is a Francis Frith copyrighted photo which you can see HERE.

Attending the South East Region Industrial Archaeology Conference

Here’s a right oddity. We, that’s my dear wife and myself, attended the South East Region Industrial Archaeology Conference[SERIAC].

SERIAC is an annual one-day conference organized by a group of Societies in the southeast of England who have an interest in industrial history and archaeology. SERIAC 2019 was held yesterday, Saturday 13th April, at Dartford Grammar School, and was hosted by Kent Archaeological Society.

There were seven 45 minute lectures/talks on a variety of topics, some of which I’ll tell you about in the coming days. Why did we attend. Well, I particularly wanted to listen to one talk, and I persuaded my wife to join me as she there was a talk she might find interesting. As with all conferences, not every talk was riveting, and I admit to closing my eyes during one talk. We managed to keep our purchases of books to just a couple, and I’m proud of ourselves for that restraint. On reflection, my wife was stoic, and sat through all the talks.

Conference registration was held in the Mick Jagger room, so I guess Mick Jagger is a past pupil of Dartford Grammar School. Here are a couple of photos of registration and the conference itself.

An almost forgotten London wartime defence structure revealed

This may seem an arcane topic. Well, it is, I admit. While idly reading items on Twitter, which is something that I really should stop doing. I blame Brexit for taking over my reading habits.

Anyway, onto the story.

Mark Wallace – @wallaceme – a Kingston on Thames resident having studied archaelogy, and a regular walker in his area, spotted a piece of of Second World War defence fortification. Not at all obvious to anyone walking by the Nail Bar in St James’s Road.

Mark in his interview by the Surrey Comet, describes his uncovering of the fortified wall.

The structure at the Nail Bar is hangover from the defences created for the WWII  London Stop Line. These were hastily created fortified defences. The outer wall of the Nail Bar has three loopholes in it, now bricked up, which were firing positions, part of the protection of the bridge over the River Thames.

There are many such quirky such fortifications around the country. Mark Wallce used the Archaeology Data Service to verify his finding.

Discovering Iron Age archaeology in West End

We weren’t able to attend the talk in June this year on archaeological excavations in West End, organised by West End Parish Council. Nor we were in the audience for Guy Consterdine’s talk on Iron Age West End to the West End Village Society’s AGM in February this year.

I wanted to know more about Iron Age West End, and so I’ve been in touch with Guy, and he has kindly allowed me to publish his presentation here. Guy tells me he’s giving a talk on this topic at the Heritage Gallery on Thursday, 16th August. This time I’ll do my best to get along to listen.

To view Guy’s presentation in full screen, click on the upward facing arrow in the bottom right hand corner. Press the ESC key to exit.

Talk on iron age archaeology in West End

West End Parish Council is hosting a talk on archaeological excavations in West End on Monday 4th June in the Sports Pavilion, Benner Lane, West End, commencing at 8.0 pm.

Cotswold Archaeology have completed their analysis of last summer’s excavations at land off Benner Lane, where remains of Iron Age roundhouses, granary store, and iron smelting were discovered, among other things. The archaeologists will be coming to West End on Monday 4 June to tell us about their findings. The public meeting will be held at the Sports Pavilion, Benner Lane at 8.00 pm, hosted by the Parish Council.

The talk will be given by Sam Wilson, Project Supervisor at Cotswold Archaeology. Sam will discuss the different phases of archaeological work undertaken at Benner Lane and the excavated evidence for multiple periods of occupation, dating from as early as the Late Bronze Age and with notable Iron Age settlement. The presence of iron smelting evidence in particular puts the site among a handful of important sites within the region. The finds and environmental evidence from the site will also be discussed along with the wider landscape context and any potential for future research.

West End has a proven heritage of 4,000 or more years of human occupation. Come and hear about the earliest of those times on 4 June. Tea and coffee will be served after discussion time, for a social end to the evening.

Doggerland – Europe’s lost world

Continuing with my recent articles on maps is the recent research uncovering more about Doggerland.

Doggerland, as I’m sure you’ll know, was the low low lying land that joined Britain to the European mainland prior to it being lost to rising sea waters. Numerous research projects have discovered more about this lost world, notably by Professor Vince Gaffney in his book Europe’s Lost World: The rediscovery of Doggerland.

Prof Gaffney is recorded in an hour long talk at DigVentures about the science in uncovering Doggerland. It’s not a particularly clear video, and the sound is poor – but hey, if you’re keen to know more it might prove useful. Otherwise, you can digest the academic work of Prof Gaffney and his team HERE. [Click on image to expand].


A road widening scheme reveals rich archaeology

down-the-roadThe road widening and improvement scheme of the A1 in Northern Ireland, from Belfast to Newry, [shown in red on the Google map] revealed much about Northern Ireland’s history and development.

There’s a well-researched and fascinating paper on the archaeological work associated with the road works by Colin Dunlop.

it’s entitled – DOWN THE ROAD A Road to the Past Volume 1 The Archaeology of the A1 Road Schemes between Lisburn and Newry. It covers the environmental impact on the land in the ice-age, through the neolithic period, the bronze-age, medieval times, and right up to the present day.

Be warned, the paper is over 100 pages – though still interesting to dip into.