Time Truck and CITiZAN go Christmas Shopping!

24 Jan 2017

Guest blog by CiTIZAN about their experience in Westquay, Southampton

We were really excited about to be asked by Hammerson to be part of the celebrations to open the new extension.Our CITiZAN team in the South West is based just down the road at Portsmouth and has been doing a lot of great work at sites such as Lepe (Hampshire), Tennyson Down (Isle of Wight) and Brownsea Island (Dorset), and we were really keen to use the event to showcase this work to the crowds visiting Westquay and highlight how people can still get involved in this amazing project to observe and record archaeology under threat in the intertidal zone.

In order to give our visitors (we had over 300 over the course of the weekend) a feel for what CITiZAN does we took along some tablets and demonstrated just how easy it is to use our smartphone/tablet app to record archaeological features or just to find them whilst out and about on the coast. Alex, one of our community archaeologists also led an activity weaving fiendishly complex Mesolithic fish trap baskets out of art straws. Alex’s marvellous model of how these structures, a common find on our foreshores, trap fish using very simple technology and the power of the falling tide was extremely popular, particularly as it featured a clownfish with more than a passing resemblance to Disney’s Nemo! One of the best adverts for CITiZAN is the recent Channel 4 documentary Britain at Low Tide, and we are very grateful to Tern TV for allowing us to screen this on the Truck over the weekend.

The Time Truck was just one part of an amazing suite of festivities to celebrate the opening of Watermark. At various points over the weekend we were surrounded by ballerinas, jugglers, and an LED carnival parade. The high point of events was ‘Luminate Southampton’ a fabulous light projection onto the medieval city walls which tells the story of over 800 years of the city’s maritime history, from the building of Henry VIII’s flagship the Grace Dieu to the terrible damage inflicted on the city during WWII. We like to think that the Time Truck and our activities complimented these big heritage narratives with some really engaging hands-on activities, and our community feedback below really demonstrates this.