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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Excavations at Warbank, Keston -- Completed.
by Miss E Mynott.
(West Kent Border Archaeological Group.)

The programme of excavation and consolidation on the site of the Romano-British cemetery at Warbank, Keston (KAR 9, page 8) was completed in May. The work, undertaken by the West Kent Border Archaeological Group, took thirteen months.

It involved the total excavation of the two monumental tombs and of an arbitrary area on all sides. Despite three earlier excavations fourteen new burials and another tomb werf discovered and examined. Four of these were of infants buried without ceremony. Six more were of children buried in wooden coffins, of which only the nails survived. One was found to contain a small pottery flask and another a fine Samian bottle and a small Castor ware cup. In addition there were three cremations placed in coarse pots one of which was covered by an inverted dish and another by a broken tile. The fourteenth burial was found inside the rectangular tomb (KAR 12, page 15), but this had been disturbed, probably in late-Roman times.

To these fourteen burials must be added the cremation in the lead casket found in September (KAR 11, page 10); at least three stone coffins and other graves disturbed in the past 150 years. An extensive cemetery is indicated and it must be that other burials remain to be found beyond the limits of the present excavation. The occurrence together of cremations and inhumations, at random round the principal mausoleum, is of particular interest. The broad date-limits for the cemetery are AD 180-300, but it is hoped that subsequent research will provide a closer dating.

The site was formally opened by the Mayor of Bromley, Councilor H W Haden, at a ceremony on the site on 25th May, 1968. The Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Mr A J Taylor, attended on behalf of the Ministry of Public Building and Works and congratulated the London Borough of Bromley on its interest in and support for the project.

The ceremony was accompanied by an exhibition of finds and photographs from this and other local sites and large-scale maps showing archaeological sites and historic buildings in the Bromley area. During the two week-ends that the site was open more than 3,000 people were given guided tours of the site and nearly 800 copies of the Kent Archaeological Review were sold. The site is now open for inspection, but only by arrangement and this can be done through the Group.

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