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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Schoolboys show the way.
by Edna Mynott.
(West Kent Border.)

In March the Group completed a series of winter field surveys and excavation in the Keston area as described in the previous issue of the Review. Inspired by the Group's activities, the farmer's two sons carried out a highly unorthodox excavation in a nearby wood and in the course of this 'dig' they found a few pieces of pottery, which were shown to the West Kent Border Group. The pottery was clearly Roman and it seemed that a previously unknown site had come to light. A weekend was spent in April to try to establish the date, extent and nature of the site.

The area was densely wooded and on a steep slope. On the first day three test-holes were opened up. The first was at the bottom of the hill where the boys had first dug and in the hillwash further sherds of Roman pottery and tile were found. The second test hole at the top of the hill located an occupation area with small gullies and ditches as well as much pottery and tile. The third test-hole, between the other two, produced part of a brown-grey soft ware pot with cremated bones-found by one of the diggers who was straightening the side of his trench. This discovery certainly merited further work and so it was that another weekend was spent on this site.

The area around the burial was cleared of the dense undergrowth and trees and the excavation extended. By the end of the weekend a further four cremation burials had been found. Burial two had a native Patch Grove storage jar and a flagon and Burial three had two fine carinated beakers. Both groups were associated with cremated bones. The two pots in Burial four were badly crushed, while Burial five was the largest of the grave groups. This contained a large cinerary urn with bones, a flagon, a beaker, a Samian platter (form 18) and an unusual Samian cup (form 46). Further digging was done over a wide area at the top of the hill to establish the limit of the occupation area.

This site is probably that of a small Romano-British farmstead of first-century date and fills a gap on the distribution map of West Kent in Roman times. It is about half-way between the Hayes Roman bath-house and the large Roman villa at Warbank.

The Group would like to thank Miss Groom for her kind help and of course our thanks are extended to the two boys, Stephen Groves and his younger brother, who discovered the site.

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