Monday, 3 February 2014

Prehistoric archaeological site at Vauxhall - 2nd February 2014

View up river from Vauxhall foreshore
One wonders if I was mad  to go on a walk by the River Thames after a week of torrential rain? It proved to be a good decision, it was an early start, for a Sunday, but wrapped up warm, with the car and knowing where to park, plus glittering wintery sunshine, it was the right one!

Met up with fellow stalwarts in front of MI6 and we took the causeway down to the foreshore. A bit shady on the South side, but we headed for the sunny spots towards Battersea Power Station.

Not as slippy or muddy as expected, apparently due to the high rainfall the river was top heavy, fast moving and swept all before including the grungy stuff!

Our guide, Mike always entertaining, full of wonderful tales and extraordinarily knowledgeable about all manner of artefacts from flint to pottery and everything in between explained the site to us. We had a potter with us and there was some debate as to whether the London clay exposed might be worth giving a go in the kiln, an interesting experiment possible and we wait to hear about the results.

The prehistoric archaeological site we were seeking had been discovered through a mudlark's find in 1993. The famous Time Team got down there in 2005 to discover one of the largest Bronze Age structures in Britain.  You can watch it here in full

When we arrived the tips were just visible but afer an hour you could see the posts quite clearly with their attendant archaeological stakes around them (to protect them and mark the spot).  The monument is situated at the confluence of the Thames and the ancient River Effra - a site of votive offerings, a bridge leading to nowhere, or perhaps to marshy islands, of which there were many in the unencumbered Thames of ancient times.

The River Effra sluice gate

The Time Team inserted a post in 2005 to record the foreshore erosion and on our Sunday morning it was a foot above ground. This site is also providing evidence of the sea-level rise over the past 12,000 years.

Post inserted by the Time Team 2005

Bronze Age monument revealed
Last minute, lucky find - Bronze Age flint, sharpened as a cutting tool

Special thanks to Mike Webber who guided the walk, South Bank Mosaics who arranged it for us and friends and family who joined us. 

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