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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Sheppey Romano-British Burials.
by Peter Leach.

In September last year (1968) Romano-British burials were found in Sheppey on the site of the new Sheppey High School on what was agricultural land; the location of the burials NGR TQ 9378 7265, halfway up the East slope of a small hill between Minster and Halfway Houses. The site has been completely regraded and the first indication of Romano-British remains was by surface finds of a platter base and flagon head. A search disclosed more unstratified material; an organised dig followed. All finds have suffered historic or recent damage, and from the extreme effect of an acid soil.

The unstratified material came from twelve or more items of pottery and bone was also found. The dig disclosed three burial groups each consisting generally of an urn containing cremated bone and one or two platters or beakers. One item of interest was a small bead necklace or bracelet of glass and possibly jet beads also having imitation pearls not usually found at this early date which will be the subject of further investigation; another was that a large pebble sealed the mouth of one of the burial urns, but this could have occurred naturally.

The material found points to a typical mid-to-late second century AD cremation burial site. The three burials found and the unstratified bone show at least four burials; the number was probably greater in view of the large amount of unstratified fragmented material. A labourer stated that other material was found near the burial site, but a dig with a JCB in the immediate vicinity was unproductive. Several of the finds are matched by those of the Pudding Pan Rock off Whitstable coming probably from a wreck. The burials suggest an interesting example of continual occupation of a site, for the Sheppey Civil War coin hoard was found only a hundred yards away.

Thanks are due both to the Contractor Messrs Gilbert-Ash for their help and understanding and particularly to the Sittingbourne and Swale Group for their emergency dig in extremely intractable clay; it is intended that the finds will be on permanent display in the School.

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