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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Report on the Fourth KARGC Conference held at Faversham on March 2nd.
(Conference Organiser.)

This year the Conference moved into East Kent and thanks to the courtesy of Mr E J Lippett, the Headmaster of Faversham County Secondary School for Boys, and the Kent Education Committee, we were able to utilise the School Hall. For the first time arrangements were made to cater for Luncheons.

Sir Thomas Neame MA, FSA, honoured us by opening the Conference. Mr Ward opened the batting in the morning by describing the emergency excavation of the Saxon cemetery at Polhill -- reminding me, and no doubt many others, of the bleak, windswept hill and bitter driving rain. Mr Ward's report did full justice to the subject.

The Hon. Secretary of The Faversham Society, Mr A J Percival, graphically described the growth and decline of the gunpowder industry in Faversham. He praised the help given by the KARGC in the restoration of Chart Mills.

Turning back into the distant past Mr Woodcock then described the recent work in East Kent, mainly Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. The talk was illustrated with many excellent slides, although Mr Woodcock included a few which had the audience straining forward with owl-like expressions.

Opening the afternoon session, Mr R F Jessup, FSA, one of the pioneers of modern archaeology in Kent, gave an entertaining account of his past experiences and spoke of his pleasure in seeing the growth of archaeological research in the county. Mr Jessup then said how sorry he was that our new Chairman, Mr Norman Cook, was unable to be present, explaining that an important family matter had necessitated Mr Cook's being in Oxford that day.

Mr Jessup's address and encouragement were warmly appreciated by all present and we sincerely hope that he will speak to us again at the next Conference.

With both wit and superb slides Mr Gidlow then directed us on a pictorial tour of Faversham, commencing with views of "that wide and majestic creek" and pointing out the architectural treasures, enumerating the inns and ending at Maison Dieu at Ospringe.

We were next treated to a talk on Springhead by our past Chairman, Mr W S Penn BSc. To the astonishment of all (not least Mr Philp) the talk was prefaced with a pseudo-religious ceremony involving a beautiful young maiden, becomingly garbed in white, bearing a modern reproduction (in reinforced concrete) of a Venus figurine which was reverently placed on the high altar (masquerading as a trestle table). Truly a "Cult of Sauce"!!! Mr Penn then reviewed work at Springhead in previous years and dwelt in more detail on the past year's research. Our thanks to Mr Penn for an excellent lecture and a lesson in super sales promotion.

Mr H E Gough followed by bringing us up to date with the Reculver excavations, with special emphasis on the exploration of the East gate. The suggestion that the previous speaker's site was "the best in Kent" was contested with spirit, and certainly one must admit that the forts were to protect the major towns and lesser settlements inland. It was interesting to see how the Reculver group assisted natural erosion at the cliff face.

Mr A Miles then described his researches into the Romano-British site at Cooling. The slides provided a great deal of information and we were introduced into methods of excavating below sea level. With trial holes filling with water quicker than a mechanical pump could handle, one can only admire the courage of Mr Miles' mud-caked group.

Unfortunately, time was now running out and I must apologise to Mr B J Philp for having to compress his lecture into half the allotted time. Nevertheless, we heard an excellent talk on the excavation and restoration of the Roman Tombs at Keston, with first-rate slides.

I concluded the meeting at 5.30 p.m. with thanks to our supporters, the speakers and members of the Faversham and West Kent groups for their help in organising and assistance in running the show.

I hope all our readers will make a point of coming to the next Conference, with friends when we can guarantee a very enjoyable day. Thank you for your support.

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