News gpR DIsCoveRs lost CHapel t he picture to the right shows the result of a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey carried out earlier this year by John Shepherd (Islington Museum) and Ralph Potter (University of East London) in an area identified by chance finds and a trial excavation as the site of the lost chapel of St Peter in West Acre, Norfolk. The ground plan revealed by the survey is consistent with a Saxo-Norman foundation date, with a later square chancel. Details inside the chapel walls suggest that the floor and other internal features might still survive.
John Shepherd is now leading a 40-strong team of independent and professional archaeologists, giving their time free to the project, which will excavate the site. The live excavation will be a focal point of West Acre’s History Fair on August Bank Holiday weekend (24-25 August), which brings together scores of local groups for a celebration of living history, including demonstrations of Roman iron smelting, pottery- and glassmaking, log boat and coracle construction and navigation on the River Nar. Visit www.westacre.co.uk for site information; for Bank Holiday History Fair details, see Smalltalk, p.11.
right West Acre’s lost chapel of St Peter.
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HIstoRy on tHe tHames l ondoners are being offered the chance to conduct an archaeological survey of the river foreshore as part of the threeyear Thames Discovery Programme, starting October 2008, thanks to a £421,500 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Jill Goddard, executive director of the Thames Estuary Partnership, says ‘Our main aim is to get the public involved with the longest archaeological site in London, which is the foreshore on the Thames.’ Jill adds that ‘another aim is to create a comprehensive record of what is actually on the Thames foreshore and thus greatly improve the sites and monuments record so that when planning applications are made, we will have updated all the information that is needed.’
identified and marked for special attention by Gustav Milne, Senior Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, who has long experience of working on the Thames foreshore and will be helping to direct the project. One site is at Vauxhall, near the MI6 building, where, says Gus, ‘we have the remains of a prehistoric bridge, which is quite remarkable’.
Several key sites have been
‘We also have some Anglo-Saxon fish traps from when they used to collect eels’, he said, adding that ‘the whole story of how the cockneys love eels, pies and mash goes back to the mid-Saxon period, where we have these 6th to 8th century fish traps near Chelsea.’
A third key site is in Erith, East London, where the traces have been found of a submerged forest growing on foreshore some 5,000 years ago.
A project website is in the process of being set up; if you are interested and wish to keep in touch, send an email to tdp@thamesweb. com or ring the Thames Estuary Partnership office: 020 7679 0540.
left Members of the Thames Discovery Programme record a shipyard on the Thames foreshore at Bermondsey.
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