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Kent Archaeological Review extract

KARGC Conference 1969.
by Roger Walsh.

We have to thank the French Authorities for allowing a warm airstream to thaw out the snowdrifts and allow over two hundred of our stalwart supporters and friends to gather at the Municipal Theatre, Maidstone.

Mr L R A Grove, the curator of Maidstone Museum, officially opened the meeting and broke the ice so successfully that the task of the following speakers was much easier. He ended by suggesting the possibility of forming a Research group in Maidstone, asking those who were interested to get in touch with him at the Museum.

The morning session had its moments of high drama commencing when Mr. Grove leapt agilely from the stage on to the somewhat rickety steps which promptly threatened to overturn. The other morning speakers found themselves beset with difficulties with the microphone and the Conference Organiser convinced everyone, who was not already aware of the fact, that he was certainly not a telecommunications expert! However Mr Gough valiantly overcame the difficulties and gave an excellent account of the small trial hole that had been dug at Reculver the previous year. Mr Mills carried on the good work dealing with the emergency dig at Radfield near Sittingbourne. Mr Philp gave the final lecture before luncheon scorning the aid of the microphone and had the audience tensely poised on the edge of their seats -- as much by the stirring account of the emergency excavation in the Roman Forum in the City as by his insistence on standing on the brink of the platform above a six foot drop into the orchestra pit.

During the lunch break our bookstall did extremely well and Mr Ocock opened the afternoon session by explaining the aims and ambitions of the KARGC.

Despite some harrassment by a time conscious organiser, our Vice-Chairman, Mr J H Money, followed with a comprehensive and absorbing description of the Iron Age hill-fort at High Rocks near Tunbridge Wells.

It was sad to record the absence of our friend, founder member and past Chairman, Mr W S.Penn, and it was good to hear that work on the Springhead site to which he had devoted so many years continues with vigour; Mr S R Harker gave us a re-cap of the previous work and brought us up to date with descriptions of the last season's results including some slides showing what despicable weather the South East suffered last year.

As if to cap the previous talk Mr I A Jackson then took us wading through the mud flats of Upchurch Marshes and assured us that conditions there were the same even during good summers.

Mr G A Cramp gave us a short talk on the Medieval Industries near Canter bury and it would seem that archaeology by German bombs has advantages. The tile and pottery kilns will help to fill a large gap in our knowledge of this period.

After Mr Cramp's talk we took a longer tea break than usual as facilities for providing our usual refreshments were unfortunately not allowed in the theatre -- we will certainly try to overcome this difficulty for next year's conference!

Our last lecturer, Mr H F Cleere, gave an excellent talk on Roman Iron Working in the Weald from ore deposits to smelting furnaces and just to show that electronic devices are completely impartial, difficulties were encountered by our long suffering projectionist Ray, who found that either the slides had swollen or the projector had shrunk!

At four-thirty pm I reluctantly had to close the meeting but here again would like to thank all our supporters and speakers.

Particular thanks are due to Paul Oldham who together with Michael Ocock and Brian Philp did most of the organisation, and to Ray our projectionist and to those members of the Lower Medway and West Kent Border groups who cheerfully volunteered to assist in running this venture.

I hope that those who attended enjoyed the day as much as I did and that they will introduce more of their friends to our next conference in the Spring of 1970.


A large black and yellow flag with the initial letters CIB was lost at the Conference. Will anyone who inadvertently placed it in his pocket please return it before 1st June. A certain group informs us that large-scale armoured search parties are being sent out on that day to the most likely places.
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