Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Archaeology in Cutty Sark Gardens

Our special correspondent says:

When we excavated back from the river wall for a new deep surface water drain we got down to the old foreshore level some 5m below the existing surface. There was a lot of ancient timber, probably parts of revetments or jetties, found. Samples have been sent away for dendro analysis. It is largely Oak - probably some reused ships timbers, and probably from the 13th to the 17th centuries. There is also a lot of leather in a well preserved condition, including fine leather with tooling (book covers or similar) and the usual midden junk.
We have a big pile of the timbers, generally in thick and heavy but short pieces, of which the inside is in remarkably good condition and unless we can find anyone who wants them they'll go in the skip - the wood is suitable for bowl turners, carvers or souvenir makers who want wood with a bit of history, or even as a creative garden feature if anyone's interested.
(anyone interested email indhistgreenwich@aol.com

We've also found the Northern edge of the old Billingsgate Street down by the river - the road is intact beneath a granite cobble surface that may date from the widening / resurfacing in the 1850s, and there are many layers down to mediaeval (putting 13th & 14th century finds in context).

One thing that's clear about Billingsgate dock is that it was a draw dock, i.e. a ramp down onto the foreshore, and not truncated in a solid wall at the South end as at present. As such it may be very ancient indeed - the archaologists are hoping our hole needs to be deep enough for them to go back past the mediaeval.

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