On a bright spring morning, over a rolling sea, the Islands in a Common Sea team returned to the isles for our latest Scillonian adventure.
Over the weekend we will be working with visitors and members of the Isles of Scilly Archaeology Group, in a Shorewatch project. Shorewatch is a Scottish initative that encourages and supports community groups to survey coastlines and monitor eroding archaeological sites.
The idea for an Isles of Scilly Archaeology Group has been around for some time. In 2011 Charlie Johns (Historic Environment, Cornwall Council) lead a series of introductary archaeological skills and training events (funded by the Isles of Scilly AONB Sustainable Development Fund) at which the impetus to develop a Scillonian Shorewatch scheme emerged. As part of the Islands in A Common Sea project Cardiff Universityhas funded three archaeologists (Ian Dennis, Jacqui Mulville and Charlie Johns) to come over to Scilly . We will be training the IOS Archaeology Group in the recognition and monitoring of eroding coastal archaeology.
We are also partnering with the SCAPE trust (Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion) who have developed the highly sucessful Scottish SHOREWATCH program and winner of Current Archaeology’s Rescue Dig of the Year 2012.
The role of the sea in creating, shaping and eroding the islands has fascinated archaeologists for years; from the submerged hedges and ruins identified by Crawford, to the Charles Thomas’s ‘Exploration of a Drowned Landscape’ right through the continuing English Heritage funded Lyonesse Project that is providing new information on the rate of rise in sea levels from intertidal and submerged peat deposits.
This event will benchmark the sites identified in the Coastal Eroding Project in the early 1990’s and provide training in the recording, identification and monitoring of existing and new eroding sites.
Over the course of the weekend we will be visiting four islands. On Friday the weekend will kick off with an exploration of St Mary’s with visits to Halangy Porth and Pendrathen, on Saturday we will visit sites around Old Quay on St Martins, on Sunday afternoon we hope to get out to Nornour accompanied by the site excavator, Sonia Butcher. On Monday morning we head to Bryher to examine Bonfire Carn before boarding the Scillonian to return home.
Details of all these events will be posted on the Tourist Information Centre notice board once boat times are clarified. On Friday we will be gathering outside the Lloyds Bank at 10.15am and we will then walk to Halangy Porth, where others can join us at 11am. From there we will walk to Pendrathen and the day should finish by 3pm, do bring sandwiches for lunch and waterproofs in case of rain.