Monday, 23 July 2012

Walbrook Walkabout

The next walk on the foreshore will take place on 4th August, use link below to book on this free tour.  Free! Hurry and book! 
ADDENDUM: Looks like it is fully booked, however, when we did it, quite a few people did not turn up, so if you plan to be in the City that day, arrive at 9.30 at the North end of Millienium Bridge, East Side. You will see  Natalie and her crew in high visibility jackets.

Queenhythe 21 July 2012

On Saturday 21st July joined the Museum of London Archaeology team for a walk on the foreshore of the Thames. Starting on the north end of the east side of Millienium Bridge we gingerly climbed down some slippery steps to go in search of the Walbrook River, now hidden beneath City streets.

Bellarmine Jug
We immediately encountered a 'mud lark' those fellas who hunt the foreshore for interesting artefacts, some may recall the television series of 'Mud Men',  I could not put a name to the face, but I did remember his lovely black laborador.  Our guide asked if he had found anything and he showed us three parts of a grimacing face on a piece of mottled pottery. A Bellarmine remnant; some connection with a Catholic Cardinal (read below).

It was interesting how quickly everyone started to cast their eyes down and begin to search for their very own treasure! We came upon many shards of tiny pieces of pottery some dating back to the Medieval period, including many Medieval tiles. One lucky chap did find a small very beautifully designed piece pottery, which was late Roman.

The archaeologists explained how the river was trying to claim back the shore hence quite the high level of gravel especially at the last remaining inland dock from Saxon times, Queenhythe.  As a Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1973, no one is allowed to dig or collect stuff from the site. Eventually the archaelogists will be allowed on it, and it is likely they will find some very interesting things at many levels.

The outlet of the Walbrook  to the river was a heavy sluice gate and rather ugly culvert. A sad end to what was once a vast inlet which allowed boats up as far as Bank! We ended the first half of the walk at The Banker pub, it had shiny new steps, so getting back to 'dry' land was easy, although the ancient and Victoria version had been rather ruthlessly built over without much notice so could not be recorded for posterity.

The walk ended actually on at the Bucklersbury site dig! I had no idea we would get on the site so it was really exciting to have access and be given the run down on what was happening by an archaelogoist involved in the project. The icing on the cake was the handling of some of the objects recently unearthed. A centurion's buckle, a small effigy of a god, leather fragments, a coin and some heavier items which could be tools. Fascinating and strongly recomend you keep checking the MOLA web site for a future walk.

Bellarmine Jug - not so sure about being used for ale!


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