B3.1 Community Archaeology

Project Status: In Progress

Delivery Partner: Museum of London Archaeology

The project aims to involve local people in the process of rediscovering the Land of the Fanns through hands-on archaeology, both within the landscape and along the jetties and foreshores of the River Thames. As such, there are two elements to the project:

  • Uncovering the Fanns
  • Jetties and Foreshores

Uncovering the Fanns

This element of the project will focus on up to five sites across the landscape where there is archaeological interest and where community-orientated archaeology is permitted to take place. The project will need to be coordinated with the work of local archaeological groups in the area.

The development stage of the project will require a call for potential sites, following on from the Landscape Management Plan (A1.1) and Designed Landscapes (B2.1) projects in Year 1, which will identify potential areas for follow on activity. The community archaeology will commence once sites have been selected towards the end of Year 2, and link to Interpreting the Fanns (B4.1), Digital Heritage (C1.1), Community Mapping (B2.2) and the Land of the Fanns Conference programme (D2.1). The findings may also supplement the artefacts within the Travelling Archaeological Exhibition (B3.2). The project will focus on schools and interested volunteers. Complementing these digs will be archaeology themed heritage walks as part of the wider Walk programme (D1.1).

Potential candidates for community archaeology include the coastal and intertidal Thames where HLF investment at Coalhouse Fort in Thurrock has kick-started community digs. The links with Seevic College, the national CITiZAN (Coastal and Intertidal Archaeological Network) project and the Museum of London Archaeological Service could be developed further in support of the Land of the Fanns coastlines.

Another potential candidate site could be Bedfords Park where there is a Roman villa site that was partially excavated in the 1970s with few records remaining from this work. Digging out the old trenches here could expose the archaeology that was seen before and re-recording this could be an achievable volunteer project. Such a scheme would also help inform further community work and wider park management.

Finally Beam Parklands in Barking and Dagenham could offer archaeological potential in the form of a historic marshland site.

Jetties and Foreshores

This part of the project aims to involve local people in the process of identifying and interpreting historic connections between the Land of the Fanns and the River Thames. Inspired by the Thames Discovery Programme led by the Museum of London, the project represents a river-focussed complement to ‘Uncovering the Fanns’, focussing on jetties and foreshores.

The development stage of the project involves identifying the jetty locations that historically served the Land of the Fanns, complementing the Designed Landscapes (B2.1) starting in Year 1. Interpretation of the sites through community archaeology will commence once jetty locations have been selected towards the end of Year 2, and link to Interpreting the Fanns (B4.1), Digital Heritage (C1.1), Community Mapping (B2.2) and the Land of the Fanns Conference programme (D2.1). The findings may also supplement the artefacts within the Travelling Archaeological Exhibition (B3.2). Any findings can supplement the artefacts within the travelling archaeological exhibition. The project will focus on schools and interested volunteers. Complementing these digs will be archaeology themed heritage walks as part of the wider Walk programme (D1.1)

Should a funding opportunity arise to restore a historic jetty, this project will lay the foundations for this as a potential legacy from the Scheme.

Thames Chase Trust, Pike Lane
Upminster, Essex RM14 3NS

01708 642970
landofthefanns@thameschase.org.uk

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