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Kent Archaeological Review extract

The Faversham Archaeological Report.
by J K Horne.

The First Research Report of the KARGC.

An excavation dates from the time of its publication. Hence the forthcoming publication of the excavation of the royal abbey, Roman villa and Belgic farmstead at Faversham is eagerly awaited. This is to appear as the first Research Report of the KARGC.

The important discovery and excavation of the royal abbey, founded by King Stephen in 1147 and demolished by Henry VIII in 1538, received wide press, radio and TV coverage early in 1965. The work, carried out under severe conditions in January and February, was ahead of development. Amateur archaeologists from groups all over Kent, under the 'KARGC Emergency Scheme', provided the basis of the team. Mechanical excavators were used for the first time on a large scale and financial support and backing came from the Ministry of Works. The entire monastic complex was recovered in just 55 days including the church, cloister, chapter-house, dorter, frater and west range. The unique church, of exceptional length, compared with the cathedrals at Canterbury and Rochester and with Westminister Abbey. It contained a colossal royal mortuary chapel unparalleled elsewhere in Britain in medieval times. All would have been destroyed without record, but for the immediate emergency excavation.

The same team of amateurs returned to Faversham in July, 1965 to uncover a large Roman villa again on the point of destruction. The villa completely excavated in just ten days, was found to have 12 rooms, a cellar and two corridors. It had contained a mosaic floor, a hypocaust and other interesting features. Another nine days were spent in excavating an important Belgic farmstead found beneath the floors of the villa and extending to the west.

The report, by Mr B J Philp who directed both excavations, includes more than 300 photographs, plans, and drawings of the work and finds. The publication of this Report, well within three years of the completion of the excavation, has been achieved by the co-ordinated efforts of members of the West Kent Border Archaeological Group and Reculver Excavation Group. This is particularly refreshing at a time when the majority of excavations remain substantially unpublished.

This book should be of considerable interest to both serious students and all those interested in Kent archaeology. Only a limited number has been printed and the publication date is 18th May, 1968.

The cost will be 2.0.0 each (carriage free). Orders from: KARGC, Number 1 Denmark Road, Bromley, Kent. Cheques and orders to be made payable to KARGC.

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