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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Prehistoric Pottery from Baston Manor, Hayes.
by Dr lsobel Smith.

In 1964 the West Kent Border Group discovered an important Neolithic site at Baston Manor, Hayes near Bromley, Kent. Details of the discovery were given in KAR Number 5, page 12. The excavation Report dealing with the work is now in preparation and in the interim Dr Smith has kindly offered the following summary on the pottery.

The 225 sherds recovered have belonged to about 50 vessels, all very fragmentary when found. Eight afford the possibility of partial, and necessarily tentative, reconstruction on paper; of the remainder few are represented by more than one or two pieces. The pottery, comprising both Middle and Late Neolithic forms, exhibits all states of preservation, from a remarkably fresh condition to severely abraded; a proportion of the sherds must have been covered almost from the moment of breakage, others were at some stage exposed to various degrees of weathering. There is no consistent correlation between presumed age and condition and the full range of varieties is to be seen in parts from individual pots.

The majority of the pottery, some 40 vessels, belongs to the Peterborough series and all three of the recognised styles in this series are present. A restorable bowl of Ebbsfleet ware is comparable with (but not necessarily as early as) several of those from the typesite at Northfleet, Kent. Radiocarbon determinations suggest that in Kent and Wiltshire this style was current between circa 2860 and 2430 BC.

A couple of less complete bowls may be transitional between this style and the 4 or 5 bowls of Mortlake ware from the site. The latter, like the Fengate ware described below, exhibit an unusual degree of standardisation in details of decoration, with a marked preference for a ridged treatment of the body.

At least 20 pots belong to the final Fengate style, in use circa 1650-1550 BC. These are the pots with sub-conical profile, rims in the form of collars and generally narrow, flat bases. In this group from Baston Manor the decoration is monotonously repetitive, with absolute dominance of decoration applied with the fingernails. On the collars this consists of subtriangular areas, alternately hatched with lines composed of series of small contiguous arcs; the bodies carry horizontal zones of larger nail impressions. Pits made with a finger or a smaller cylindrical tool encircle the necks.

Probably contemporary with this group are some half dozen Beaker sherds, all apparently attributable to the later styles of Beaker wares and including two with barbed wire decoration, which may have reached Kent circa 1600 BC. Part of a small undecorated saucer with the remains of a perforation at the basal angle, perhaps originally a 'strainer,' may belong with the Beaker wares.

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