Archaeology in Southwark - A Day of Talks

Heritage Special Event

Southwark Cathedral is delighted to host a day of talks in our Garry Weston Library

looking at different aspects of archaeology, not just at the Cathedral, but also in our local community.

Talks include the following;

Crystal Hollis – Medieval Graffiti

10.00am - 11.00am

Crystal Hollis is a historian, writer, and passionate about the role of medieval graffiti when it comes to understanding the past. When not in old buildings staring at walls and scribbling things down in my notebook – she is also a freelance educational speaker. Her programs involve medieval graffiti , UK folklore, religious history, and tips and tricks for using research in writing.


Dr Natalie Cohen – Thames Discovery Programme

11.15am - 12.15pm

Nathalie was formerly MOLA’s Head of Community Archaeology and led the award-winning Thames Discovery Programme for ten years; this project trains volunteers to record and monitor the dynamic archaeology of the inter-tidal zone.  

She has over 20 years of experience in archaeology, working on projects including the Monuments at Risk Survey in the East Midlands, the Grimes London Archive Project and the Thames Archaeological Survey, and overseas at sites in Israel, the Czech Republic and Romania. Nathalie has an MA in Maritime Archaeology and is an Honorary Senior Research Associate at UCL. Nathalie was the Cathedral Archaeologist for Southwark Cathedral for eight years, and is now the Cathedral Archaeologist at Canterbury Cathedral.  

She also works for the National Trust as the Regional Archaeologist for Kent and East Sussex. Nathalie regularly presents at academic conferences, local societies and at public events, and has published numerous articles and academic papers, including contributions to books and monographs.


Lunch:  12.30pm - 1.30pm


Thameslink - Living and Dying in Southwark 1587-1831: Excavations at Cure's College Burial ground, Park Street

1.30pm - 2.30pm

The Thameslink Project, a major infrastructure upgrade focussed at Blackfriars Station and London Bridge Station, and along the New Borough viaduct, involved archaeological investigations at Park Street which included the excavation of 331 post-medieval skeletons. The burials were associated with Cure’s College Almshouse, St Saviour’s parish, and dated between 1587 and 1831. Park Street is the first sizeable post-medieval almshouse burial assemblage to be archaeologically examined and, as such, provides a wealth of new information on living – and dying – in London during the 16th to 19th centuries.

By bringing together the archaeological, historical, artefactual, osteological and isotopic evidence, these excavations traced the development of the burial ground and builded a social and biological profile of the individuals buried there. A predominantly working class group, these individuals were not among the poorest of the parish, but neither were they wealthy. They hailed from the locality and beyond, as far as continental Europe, and worked as labourers, tradesmen, and skilled craftsmen. Diseases identified on the skeletons attest to nutritional deprivation and living conditions which were defined by poor sanitation, over-crowding and atmospheric pollution, while burial practice reflects pressure on burial space at a time when epidemics and high mortality were a major problem in large suburban parishes such as St Saviour’s.


Gillian King – Archaeological excavations in Southwark 2017-2018

2.30pm - 3.30pm

Gillian King is the Senior Planner Archaeologist for Southwark Council.

Southwark has an immensely rich, varied and important archaeological heritage dating from 10,000 years ago to the settlement and industrial remains of the 20th century.

Gillian and her staff at Southwark Council champion Southwark's archaeology and have dedicated planning policies and an expert archaeology officer to ensure it's identified, protected and managed for future generations.