The wonder of volunteers, working as a community archaeologist in Greenwich and Kent

Reposted from Festival of Archaeology

Created for A Day in Archaeology 2021 by Andrew Mayfield

2020 was all about running community archaeology projects through a pandemic, but 2021 has brought new challenges and opportunities…

At the end of May I started a new job as community archaeologist for the Greenwich Park Revealed project, see https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/greenwich-park-revealed(link is external). Over the next three years there are going to be lots of opportunites to get involved with archaeology projects at Greenwich, so do contact me on amayfield@royalparks.org.uk for more details. One of our first projects will involve removing a Victorian path from across an Anglo Saxon barrow cemetery! We are also planning a test pitting project in the deer enclosure in the SE corner of the Park (this Autumn!).

View over Greenwich Park, looking towards the Queen's House and canary wharf

The photo looks north over part of the later 17th designed landscape. On Charles II’s return he had plans drawn up for a grand garden at Greenwich. He even consulted Louis XIV’s garden designer. The plans were never fully realised, but we will be restoring the completed elements as part of the project. The Park has everything from prehistoric flint scatters to a Roman Temple and Saxon barrows to World War Two air raid shelters…and the many conduits under the site are a story in themselves!

When not at Greenwich, I continue to work in Kent, juggling several projects at once. I am writing up excavations and surveys for the Fifth Continent Landscape Partnership, and running LiDAR walks and digs for the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons project https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/get-involved/our-projects/sevenoaks…(link is external)

The narrow gauge railway at Shorne Woods Country Park

Key to my work in Kent are the Shorne Woods Archaeology Group at Shorne Woods Country Park (see www.shornewoodsarchaeology.co.uk(link is external)). This group of dedicated, enthusiastic, passionate and experienced volunteers continue to explore the amazing archaeology of the Park and drive me onwards to write up past projects and plan future ones in collaboration with them. They support all of my work in Kent, volunteer on other archaeology projects, support the Finds Liaison Officer with rescue projects and this very weekend will be running an open day at the park for the Festival of Archaeology, see https://festival.archaeologyuk.org/events/archaeology-park-1624814343. The photo showcases some of their current careful excavation work on the narrow gauge railway at Shorne Woods. This served the clayworks at the Park between the 1930s and 1960s and although little remains above ground, much still survives buried just beneath the surface. To learn more about our work at Shorne, do contact me at andrew.mayfield@kent.gov.uk.

When not doing all of the above, I also volunteer as a Young Archaeologists Club leader, so I encourage you to support the Council for British Archaeology in any way you can! 

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Archaeology at the Park!

Coming next weekend….

Visit Shorne Woods Country Park (DA12 3HX) between the 29th July and 1st of August to learn more about some of the fascinating archaeology that is being uncovered at the Park today, as well as visit some of the sites we have investigated in the past. On Thursday and Friday you can visit our excavations focusing on the remains of the twentieth century clayworks and on Saturday and Sunday you can take a mixture of self guided and guided tours around the Park, as well as taking in displays at the Visitor Centre. All for free! (Park parking charges apply).

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Recent work at Shorne Woods

The volunteer team have been hard at work investigating the surviving structures associated with the clayworks at Shorne Woods.

The works were open between the 1930s and the early 1960s, providing both a liquid clay slurry and freshly dug clay to local cement works at Northfleet and in the Medway Valley.

So far we have uncovered the remains of the engine shed for the site’s diesel locos, elements of the narrow gauge railway and parts of the pipework supplying water and taking away the slurry from the works. The photo above shows three of the team sitting at the end of one of the railway cuttings. Our local Young Archaeologists Club has also helped to explore these features.

We are still keen to collect both memories and photos from people who remember the site.

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Bletchley Park: British Intelligence and the Second World War

Secret Buckinghamshire Virtual talk series: No. 1
Bletchley Park: British Intelligence and the Second World War
Date: Wednesday 7 April 2021             Time: 1900hrs           Free Online Event
with speaker Professor John Ferris (Professor of History at the University of Calgary)

For more details go to https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ODIsPvfqT5eQ7OaAs9fdew

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Lewes Priory free, online talks

The Lewes Priory Trust are putting on a series of on-line symposia in May to raise the profile of Lewes Priory. There will be four separate events comprising a colourful series of sixteen illustrated talks on Zoom.

The Trust is presenting a line-up of expert speakers in four, free evening symposia on-line for anyone with a love of Lewes history, telling the story of how the monastery became one of the top ten in England 900 years ago. 

Please email enquiries@lewespriory.org.uk to receive an invitation to register for the talks. A notice will be sent at the beginning of April when registration via Zoom opens. 

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