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What Have They Found?

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Tuesday 18 January 2005 7.43pm
Regarding the dig in the car park oppo The Mangrove pub in Bermondsey street...Last time I went by some exposed old bricks were unveiled. Does anyone know what is happening there? and what are they finding?
Tuesday 18 January 2005 9.33pm
harry yanos Wrote:
> Regarding the dig in the car park oppo The
> Mangrove pub in Bermondsey street...Last time I

Where's The Mangrove?
Wednesday 19 January 2005 8.09am
Sorry, I meant Marigold
Wednesday 19 January 2005 9.52am
The dig is just part of the development process that has to be followed before the land can be redevloped in to the new Bermondsey Square complex. Once they've documented what they've found there or otherwise I'm sure you'll start seeing the foundation of the new complex appearing soon afterwards.
Wednesday 19 January 2005 10.37am
Parts of the development site are a scheduled ancient monument as the foundations of Bermondsey Abbey lie underneath - I think that a condition of the development is that these remains have to be kept in situ, but there may be a lot of interesting archaeology in the surrrounding ground.

The Museum of London holds 200 skeletons (assumed to be mostly of Cluniac monks) excavated from the abbey graveyard area - not sure whether this is within the current development.

Two reports from earlier assessment digs at the Bermondsey Square development sitecan be found at:

The probable northern boundary of the abbey precinct was found during excavations at 171-173 Bermondsey Street a few years ago.

Thursday 10 March 2005 1.05am
From the “Southwark Weekender” of February 18th, 2005:
Abbey Bones Discovered
Archaeologists digging beneath Bermondsey Square have uncovered skeletons amongst the remains of an abbey founded nearly a thousand years ago, writes Will Pavia.
They have discovered scattered remains, chalk wall foundations “heavily cut through with later trenches and foundations” and evidence that the site has been occupied since Roman times.
The skeletons appear to be from “post-medieval burials” so the bodies may not be those of monks from the Abbey, although no further details were available at the time of going to press.
The ancient monastery, founded shortly after the Norman Conquest, was once a sight to rival Westminster Abbey.
It was closed by Henry VIII and parts of the old buildings were reshaped into a lordly manor - Bermondsey House - surviving until the nineteenth century.
The archaeological dig is the precursor to a 35m re-development of the square - the study will ensure the new foundations do not damage the ancient abbey remains.

Thursday 10 March 2005 9.02am
Just picking up on the very last line of that clipping from the paper...."the study will ensure the new foundations do not damage the ancient abbey remains".

Seems a bit strange to want to prevent damage to the "ancient abbey remains" considering they are going to be underneath the new development to which nobody will have access to or even be able to see once they are covered in thousands of tonnes of concrete and steel??!!!

Or have I missed something there?

Thursday 10 March 2005 2.05pm
harry yanos Wrote:
> what are they finding?

Eric's water?
Plum's power?
An Austin Allegro?

Thursday 10 March 2005 2.14pm
Infomation now on Southwark Council's website which may answer some questions...

Archaeological Excavations at Bermondsey Square

The remains of the 11th-century Bermondsey Abbey survive beneath Bermondsey Square and its surrounding area. The Abbey was first founded as a Cluniac Priory in 1042 by a community of monks from France. In the 14th-century it became a Benedictine Abbey.

The Abbey comprised a central inner court with cloisters (in the area of present day Bermondsey Square) a conventual (monks) church (beneath the crossroads of Abbey Street and Tower Bridge Road) gatehouse, an infirmary, bakery, kitchens and its own farm, known as the Grange. The Abbey lands and buildings were surrounded by a precinct, which was delineated by a wall and in some areas a moat. After the dissolution of the Abbey by Henry VIII in the 1540's, much of the Abbey was dismantled, its lands divided and sold.

Thomas Pope built his mansion on the Bermondsey Square site, probably reusing much of the stone from the Abbey buildings. However, elements of the gatehouse were still standing in the 1820's, reused in another building. The Abbey site is a scheduled ancient monument.

The archaeological excavations taking place on the site at present are the culmination of a programme of archaeological evaluation, which started in 1998. When the regeneration of this nationally important archaeological site was first mooted, trial investigations (evaluation) took place to establish how much of the abbey survived and where.

This enabled English Heritage and Southwark Council's planning department to work with the developers and their engineers to formulate a foundation design, which would preserve the remains of the abbey structures surviving under the ground, beneath the new development.

Evaluation phase

The evaluation phase of the archaeological investigations identified some areas where the abbey had been destroyed by later buildings such as warehouses, a petrol station and houses with cellars. In other areas, some of the abbey walls and occasionally floors, survived well.

New development

The new development on the square has planning permission and scheduled monument consent. The current excavations are taking place on the areas where the piled foundations are to be inserted deep into the ground. Where remains of the abbey are found, the location of the pile has to be moved and the remains preserved on the site. The archaeologists are starting on the western side of the site, adjacent to Bermondsey Street. To date, the remains of a medieval abbey building have been found and are to be preserved. Part of a probable 17th-century burial ground, which may have been associated with a dissenters chapel on the site, has also been found.

The archaeological excavations will continue in phases across the site until spring 2005
Thursday 10 March 2005 2.19pm
lol Julie, if only!

Archaeological techniques for dating, preservation etc are improving all the time so it's important for us to preserve historical remains for future generations even if they're under tons of concrete for the time being. If only the archaeologists of the past century had had this foresight a lot of important historical data would not have been destroyed.
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