Thursday, 18 June 2009

Day 6 - Visitors abundant

Today has been one of contrasting and equally enjoyable visits, made the more enjoyable by the fact that our other, less welcome visitors, had not returned and there was no repeat of the petty vandalism of Tuesday night. The Shooters Hill Neighbourhood Police Team and Alan Pett who is in charge of Parks Security have both offered advice and as much practical help as possible in terms of a visible presence in the evening when the site is most vulnerable. That is much appreciated as is the support of the local Neighbourhood Watch.

On site we first we welcomed our colleagues from the English Heritage, Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service [GLAAS] and were able to give them a tour of the site and discuss our approach to the archaeology and how we might take things forward.

Robert Whytehead and his team have been really supportive of DDA and it was great to be able to show them the results on the ground of something that, only a few months ago, was an idea being discussed around a table in the Great Court of the British Museum.

Our other principle visitors were more of the children from Plumcroft Primary School, including Miss Wilson and Mrs Mamut's Year One classes who enjoyed telling stories about who might have left all these things in the park a long time ago. The team thoroughly enjoyed having them on site and the children's obvious enjoyment of the visits just re-enforced our view that, when it comes to education, there is a way into archaeology for everyone, whatever their age or experience. In fact, at the other end of the educational scale, one of the students from the Negus Sixth Form Centre who came yesterday was back again today to work as a volunteer.

In terms of the archaeology the WW1 Gun Emplacement becomes more fascinating by the day. What we had thought was an attempt by London County Council to demolish the site post war now looks like a wartime phase where the site was possibly up-gunned.
Also the team have had difficulty trying to make the geometry of the base work.

All in all, it is clear that once again, in order to understand them, we just have to dig these things. Even analogous sites like One Tree Hill or Monkhams Hall just do not exhibit the same form as we have at Eaglesfield. They are all different and that is only being revealed by the archaeology.

In the other trenches, what we had thought might be a WW1 latrine, later back filled as a rubbish pit and turfed over, now appears to have at least a WW2 phase if not being an entirely WW2 feature.
Meanwhile, Gabe, Lisa and Rock have been struggling with a Clear Crop mark and Geophysical Plot which had been refusing to reveal itself as the trench we suspected it to be. However, even that is beginning to resolve itself with sand bags or fragments of sand bags in situ, probably dumped in as fill when it was abandoned.

Down at the eastern edge of the site by Eaglesfield Road Rod and his team may have a T shaped section trench relating either to Stop Line Central or the defence of the Barrage Balloon site. Hopefully that too will resolve itself tomorrow.

We know from the 901 Squadron Operational Records Book that the Balloon sites were issued with Rifles in the Summer of 1940 as a defence against Parachutists.

Now the commercial...

Tomorrow Friday, we have a Press Call at 2pm and guided tours at 11am and 3pm. Do come along if you can. This is a rare opportunity to see this kind of site.

On Saturday from 12.30 to 4pm we have an Open Day with Living History, more tours of the site and a chance to look at the ecology of the Park as well as a chnce for you to Dig Dad's Army in our Peoples War Peoples Trench. We are sharing this event with our colleagues from the Friends of Shrewsbury Park and the LB Greenwich Parks and Open Spaces Department, as we ar promoting the use of the Park as an ammenity for leisure and education.

We also still have a few places on our standing buildings course on Saturday and Sunday, recording an unusual group of Air Raid Shelters in Oxleas Wood. The course costs £60 [£40 concessions] and you can join by ringing Andy on 07958 543518, or e-mailing

Lastly I must correct a grievous error in a previous Blog entry- The Bull serves a halfway decent pint of Abbot, not Adnams, [and Harvey's and Sharps...]. (Andy Brockman)

Some images from the work of the past few days...

One of the most rewarding things about archaeology is witnessing the enthusiasm of the young.

Today we were shown this beyond measure. Over 100 five to seven year olds visited the site, laughed, were intrigued, handled bits of 90 year old poo, laughed again, asked questions only Stephen Hawking could answer, and rejoiced in our collective heritage.

At about 10.30 am, a young man came panting and sweating up the side of Shooter's Hill wearing an AK-47 t-shirt. One of the A/S archaeology students from yesterday. Classes finished for the day; could he help? Only 1/2 an hour to spare. Six hours later he was still there, recording the gun emplacement and learning the difficulty of maths on an archaeological site. Thank you J.
(Anna, David and Lisa 18 June 2009)

No comments:

Post a Comment