Particularly problematic sites, which oblivious tourists have been walking past as they disembark from ferries, are at Greenwich and the Tower of London, where remains of structures older than the tower itself are being eroded in the bank just above London Bridge. Further downstream, massive medieval jetty timbers are being damaged on every tide at Greenwich.
But archaeologists are trying to make the best of the horrendous flooding and storms. As the water uncovers new sites, the Museum of London Archaeology is aiming to organize volunteers to record and monitor archaeological sites in endangered coastal areas. But volunteers need to step up now, the museum says:
Dramatic changes in weather patterns, demonstrated all too clearly by recent storms, floods and tidal surges, threaten to destroy irreplaceable archaeological remains. Rising sea levels and constant pounding from high waves and intense winds mean much of England’s history is simply being washed away. The remains of prehistoric forests, Roman forts and villas, medieval ports, and countless abandoned ships are all at risk.
This work is funded by a grant to create a Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN). The program will run for three years with the aim of creating an online database of archaeological sites accessible to the public. The Museum of London Archaeology is hiring a community archaeologist to work on the program, and it will start by monitoring a group of sites that include a prehistoric Roman and medieval trading port and Iron Age and Roman saltworking sites.