Now Dig This

Now this is the kind of sign I find hard to resist. It’s taken me a while to get down to Stockwell Street to see the archaeological dig going on there just now as it’s only open to the public during the middle of office hours but I did finally get there a couple of days ago – forgetting my camera. A doff of the tricorn, then, to Nick, who sent me his photos of the excavation.

As most people will know it’s going on on the old village market site. Where we once bought quality goods like this…

there are trenches and holes and shorts-wearing characters wielding trowels.

It’s all the more exciting as you can’t really see it from the road; you have to follow intriguing little signs like this:

and then stand behind a chainlink fence and try to guess what’s going on. There are two info boards on the walls of what’s left of John Humphrys Houses (not much)

which are mainly about the history of Greenwich and a bit about the site, including a couple of of old maps, but little about what they’re actually doing or what they’re expecting to find, though reading between the lines, I get the feeling they’re preparing us for ‘not much.’

The site appears to have been surrounded by other old, interesting stuff, industries, poor people’s hovels etc. but not to have had much built on itself. It is, of course, though, the site of the old Stock Well (which was investigated some years ago) so there COULD be something there, and now is the only opportunity they have to ever know what is there (until, like John Humpreys House, the seemingly permanent proves to be all too temporary…)

I am utterly delighted to see that not only are they conducting the correct digs butĀ letting the public see it all happen too. I guess they can’t afford to have someone standing around all the time just to tell ignorant Phantoms what’s going on, it must be all trowels to the deck, but I’d welcome a special designated hour – perhaps on a weekend when more people could see it – where they have someone explaining what all the holes, trenches and weird bits are. Perhaps they are doing one, but if they are I don’t know about it.

But thenĀ not knowing what’s happening has its advantages. My visit was greatly enhanced by a small boy who gave me his own account of what they were going to find.

Dinosaurs, of course. Which, given the geology of the area isn’t entirely out of the question, even if we’re not exactly looking at those of the T-Rex variety…


the attachments to this post:

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DSCF0034

Archaeology Stockwell Street 1
Archaeology Stockwell Street 1

Archaeology Stockwell Street 4
Archaeology Stockwell Street 4

Archaeology Stockwell Street 2
Archaeology Stockwell Street 2

Archaeology Stockwell Street 3
Archaeology Stockwell Street 3


3 Comments to “Now Dig This”

  1. Old troweller says:

    It’s being dug by one of the best archaeological units, so we can be sure there will be proper publication about the site in due course. It looks as though much evidence of any earlier occupation has been removed by Georgian (perhaps earlier?) cellars – most places it would be Victorian cellars. Hope they get a chance to dig nearer the railway line, though that may be badly disturbed by the digging of the cutting.

  2. Tina says:

    How cool! I’ve just ordered my Geology booklet thing too, thanks for that link. I’m doing Geology with the OU so look forward to seeing what’s right under my feet here in Greenwich.

  3. PiratesPatch says:

    Watch out for that V2 rocket!