Dover woman in her element helping to uncover over 300 artefacts at Western Docks

Contributed by editor on Sep 16, 2018 - 01:30 PM



For as long as Josie Sinden, pictured above, can remember she has had a passion for everything historical, which grew into a love for architecture and heritage conservation.

Josie joined Port of Dover’s flagship Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development as a Graduate Conservation Officer in 2015 after graduating from Anglia Ruskin University with a BSc in Architecture.

But it’s closer to home that Josie has been in her element helping to uncover over 300 previously undiscovered artefacts across DWDR’s worksite.

A former pupil at River Primary School in Dover and now living in Deal, the regeneration of the Western Docks has provided Josie the opportunity to oversee the largest archaeology conservation documentation ever undertaken in the Port.


Tudor engineering works

Exciting items were discovered here such as over 300 historic timbers and evidence of Tudor engineering works in the form of a ‘Pent’ – the first successful endeavour at the port of controlling a natural shingle bar, which was a scheme of national importance and required an increase in the taxes on beer and grain to fund it.


Mammoth teeth


Other finds have included the unearthing of several Ice Age mammoth teeth and Victorian basements.

Uncovering Dover’s untold past has been an exciting proposition for Josie: “Being part of DWDR’s project team and getting to uncover the past from below the roads, quays and marinas of one of the UK’s oldest ports, where its history is traced back to Roman times, doesn’t occur too often.

“We’ve exposed finds spanning thousands of years and it’s helping us to gain a greater understanding of this port’s varied and complex past.”

“I am immensely privileged to be working on a project of this scale, where my knowledge is put to the test every day – one day I am dealing with legislation concerning listed building consents and the next helping manage items which are 500 years old – which is a completely new side to my knowledge of heritage and conservation.”


Dover Castle

As part of her ambitions to grow in her field Josie successfully gained her MA in Architectural Conservation with Kent University in 2016 and also volunteers as an Items Conservation Assistant with English Heritage at Dover Castle in her spare time.

“I really enjoy the work I do at Dover Castle, it gives you the aftercare element of conservation of items and it’s great to be so involved all over the site, especially the World War Two tunnels. The castle is a huge asset for Dover and it’s fantastic to give something back, even more so when a lot of the conservation work is carried out by volunteers,” says Josie.

Graduate programme


Dave Herrod, DWDR Programme Director at the Port of Dover, said: “Dover Western Docks Revival’s graduate programme has given Josie a fantastic start to her career. Our graduates’ work doesn’t stop with the delivery of the Port’s flagship development; we hope that their talent and skills will go on to benefit future infrastructure projects in Kent and around the country.”

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