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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Field Surveys -- Archaeology Out of Season.
by Miss E Mynott.
(West Kent Border.)

The Group completed its winter programme of field-surveys at the end of March, again in the parish of Keston, Bromley. The three month project formed part of the research policy started by the Group in 1960 and greatly intensified in 1967. Each winter different areas are surveyed. The main areas for survey are ploughed fields, though woods and parkland are also included. The normal pro- cedure is for members to meet at 10.0 am each Sunday at an agreed venue having first obtained the approval of the landowner.

Members line up along one side of ploughed ground spaced at intervals of about 10-15 feet, and progress forward at a slow rate scanning the ground from left to right and back. Objects of interest are collected and a loud shout naming the object given to indicate the position. In this way any sudden concentration of finds can be delimited and noted by someone following up behind.

PHOTO: Field-walking in progress.


Surface indications of extensive occupation-sites will almost certainly be found and even stray, single finds not directly relating to such sites. That coins and other objects, often less than a centimetre across, can be found in a field of twenty or more acres is a fair indication of the scope of this process.

In the past ten years more than 30 new sites have been found by survey in the Bromley area. The winter of 1967 proved particularly rewarding when nearly a dozen new sites were located (KAR Number 8, page 7). The scheme was suspended during the winter of 1968 owing to the foot-and-mouth scare. The survey recently completed covered an area of about 100 acres of previously unexplored ground. On the very first day two fourth century Roman coins and a large group of pottery were recovered from fields in the vicinity of the large villa site at Warbank. The next few fields produced nothing of particular interest, but then another very large field was found to contain evidence of an extensive flint industry. This proved to cover an area of about eight acres and seems to be Neolithic or Bronze Age. The finds included a fine arrow-head of late-Neolithic type and many waste flakes with secondary working. Trial excavations then determined the extent of stratified deposits and it may be possible to do more trial-holes in the autumn.

The Bromley area is subject to development projects of various kinds. The main threat is from a major trunk-road forming part of the proposed orbita system. The location of new sites is therefore of particular importance in tha it enables the priorities of the area to be worked out and excavations planned accordingly. The Group gratefully acknowledges the help and interest of the local farmers who readily agree to surveys and trial-excavations between crops In turn members make every effort to discourage trespass by would-be visitors avoid all possible damage to crops and fences and carefully level-off excavations.

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