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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Along The Pipe.
by M J Syddell.
(Lower Medway Archaeological Research Group.)

An unparalleled chance for the archaeologist in the Medway locality was the prospect afforded recently by a 26-mile long trench dug across the area of the Lower Medway Archaeological Research Group. The trench, for a gas main. passed through or close to over twenty known areas of archaeological interest on its way from Snodland Gas Works, near Maidstone, to High Halden, near Tenterden. With the close co-operation of the South Eastern Gas Board, members of the LMARG carefully inspected the operations. Topsoil was scrutinised for indications of any archaeological site before the trench was dug; then the trench itself was closely watched, with members of the Group often following immediately behind the Cleveland trenching equipment. Other members watched the trench whenever they had a spare moment. Among those helping were Mrs H Syddell, R Butcher, R Chapman, J Cruse, J Edwards, P Harlow, D Jackson, A McCrerie, C Martin, A Miles and M Ocock.

The attention paid to the pipeline trench was more than justified with the discovery of a hitherto completely unknown archaeological site of Belgic-early Romano-British date. The remains comprise of a series of ditches and pits stretching some 500 feet east along the pipeline track from the Maidstone road. The pits and ditches stretch from TQ 7869 5788 eastwards to TQ 7888 5776. A quick check of pottery found gives a date certainly not later than about 100 AD. Member J Edwards has carefully recorded these features and it is hoped to investigate this site further at a later date.

Apart from this discovery, results have been disappointing, although the trench passed through such a potentially promising area. No other sites have been found although a large number of interesting features have been recorded for future reference. Among these are a ditch of indeterminate age, containing ash, charcoal, shell and bone, at TQ 7348 6036, 18th or 19th century pottery in a bank of tipped soil at TQ 7295 6115, and a black burnt patch 3 feet down with no sign of a ditch or other disturbance from the surface at TQ 7956 5745.

In the section south of the A20, workmen caused excitement with tales of finding bones behind the "Great Danes" and part of a "samian vesse" near East Sutton, but despite careful searches by Group members nothing could be traced of these!

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