Sunday, 30 December 2012
2012, a remarkable year.
Inside the harbour was a different ball game as some deep digging took place cutting through layers of smelly sand, silt and clay. Also because of practicality the area wasn't barriered off as work took place so I was able to get up close as digging place. As long as I didn't act like an idiot and observed basic health and safety protocol I knew I would be all right with the contractors and it paid off. As deep digging took place I was able to get up close cherry pick up some good finds before the holes were filled back in.
Some areas inside the harbour were barren of finds which I put down to the post war dredging operation, other areas were very productive with finds dating back to the 1780's. In most cases the finds were related either to harbour activity or coastal trade. I did find complete bottles with the oldest dating back to the 1830's. From inside the harbour I picked up every single thing including fragments of earthenware, crockery and glass resulting in about 2 to 3 hundred finds.
Across the harbour to where the revetment was being constructed things were done differently as the workings were surrounded by a barrier which made access very difficult plus the depth of digging was not as deep as in the harbour. Finds around the revetment were patchy and I found two complete bottles a few clay pipe bowls and stems plus some animal bones on the surface. I doubt if I made 50 finds in that area.
However I was well compensated with the erosion that took place in the center of the bay directly off the main sands on the low water site. It was that good I had too take two buckets each trip picking up mostly shards, clay pipe bowls and stems, bottle stoppers and old stone work .
During the whole time I worked with the Margate Museum a bit like the London mudlarks do with the London museum.The only problem was the Margate museum was they did not have the expertise so I ended up being judge and jury. Bringing items in and telling them what it was and left to them to display it, which they did and held a small exhibition of finds in the late summer of 2012.
I suppose the whole significance of Margate 2012 was that it did come up with tangible items that did tell the story of Margate's seaside heritage. Plus the Museum gained many items for display that I donated. This included paddle steamer shards from Victorian steamers, bits of the stone Pier, pieces of the Hotel Metropole and pieces of the bombed Droit House during the war , Victorian seaside items and a complete time line of clay pipe bits.
As for myself I retained the items they did not want.This included bottles from visiting coasters into the Harbour and earthenware shards found in the harbour and surrounding areas. Plus a few Georgian period items I kept for my small collection.
Since late October it has been a case of back to where I started this time last years with finds looking promising, Happy New Year.