Nathalie Cohen and Eliott Wragg
Museum of London Archaeology, £15
Review Edward Biddulph
The River Thames must be one of the longest archaeological sites in Britain, both in terms of distance and duration. People have been collecting artefacts from the muddy foreshore or dredged from the river since the 19th century. More systematic exploration of the waterfront has followed, and, in 2008, the Thames Discovery Programme, an ambitious project involving fieldwork, public events, and the training of an army of volunteers, was launched. This book describes the results of that project, revealing the story of the river from prehistory to modern times.
The Thames has yielded thousands of objects over the years, but has also preserved remarkable structures, among them a Bronze Age causeway, Anglo-Saxon fish traps, and barges once laden with goods that fed London. The Thames was also a place of industry, home to the world’s foremost ship-makers and ship-breakers. Such discoveries speak directly of the human relationship with the river.
This is a fascinating book, a must for anyone interested in London’s history.
This review appeared in CA 347.