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Kent Archaeological Review extract

The East Kent Mesolithic Research Group --
Aims and Functions.
by A.G. Woodcock.

The East Kent Mesolithic Research Group is an active archaeological research group formed with the object of preparing a detailed report for publication on the Mesolithic period in East Kent. As such it differs from the majority of groups forming the Kent Archaeological Research Groups Council both in function and outlook. These groups cover a specific local area conducting an archaeological survey of their region, in general covering a wide range of periods, following up references to past discoveries and attempting to discover and investigate new sites. Such groups are an indispensable feature of archaeology in this country and without them our picture of the past would be greatly lacking.

The area covered by the East Kent Mesolithic Research Group is approximately 100 square miles in extent. It is an area rich in archaeological remains, but one in which there are few active groups. Even though each group does an important and worthwhile job, because there are so few, they can only cover a very small fraction of the total area. The East Kent Mesolithic Research Group is a highly specialised group which requires its own special methods and techniques to produce a survey of a period where little if any work has previously been done. Such a group has a useful function to perform in a study of the archaeology of the area. It does not seek to set itself up in competition with existing local groups but by the collection of information from all possible sources produce as comprehensive a picture as possible of the Mesolithic period in East Kent, a function which perhaps a purely local group could not perform.

Although the activities of the East Kent Mesolithic Research Group are mainly restricted to the investigation of the Mesolithic period there is the ever present danger of overspecialisation. During the survey sites of various dates are likely to be discovered and these have to be investigated just as thoroughly, not conveniently overlooked. Rescue work in the area must be given absolute priority no matter what period is involved. As long as these basic principles are adhered to then the specialist research group has a useful role to play in the framework of local archaeological groups and can make a significant contribution to our knowledge.

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