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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Excavations on the Roman Villa Site at Keston.
by Miss E Mynott.
(West Kent Border Archaeological Group.)

The training excavation on the Roman villa site in Lower Warbank Field, Keston, near Bromley, (KAR number 14, page 8) was continued until Christmas, 1968. Work on the site was delayed for four weeks during November when many members of the group assisted with more urgent emergency excavations in the City of London.

The work during the second half of the year was mainly concentrated on the masonry building found at the south end of the site. It is now clear that this was the building found and largely excavated in 1854 which was then described as a "Roman villa." It seems, both from the plan and from the size of the monumental tombs excavated in 1967 in the adjacent cemetery, that this is not the main villa but a subsidiary building of the villa complex.

The excavations revealed that the building occupied the site of an earlier timber structure, probably of first century AD date. Several pits and post-holes were found beneath the actual walls of the building. The masonry building, constructed of flint and brick, appears to have at least two periods of construction though the scant evidence remaining after robbing, the earlier excavation and extensive plough damage make precise interpretation difficult. It does seem, however, that the building was in use during the third and fourth centuries. Wide corridors flanked at least two sides and a passage divided the main block. Subsequent alterations gave a total of at least seven rooms. Beneath two of the internal walls was found a very large rectangular pit with a thick clay lining. This lining seems to have been held by wooden stakes squared and sharpened for the purpose. The mixed loam filling of this pit contained pottery of second century date.

The course of the Roman water-pipes across the site has so far not been determined and this will be an interesting project for the future. In addition a large ditched enclosure at the north end of the site, close to the cemetery, needs to be explored and defined.

The students in the Bromley Training School have now started Advanced Courses at Bromley and Beckenham. A full programme of work in the field is being arranged for 1969. In the meantime first priority is being given to completing the text and drawings of material from excavated local sites in readiness for publication.

The Group's series of winter lectures has proved a great success and all the tickets have again been sold. The diggers party is to be held in the New Year when the annual awards are to be made.

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