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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Recommended Reading.
by Ronald Jessup.

It was quite by coincidence that I saw ex-Staff Sergeant Walter Yearrick in his centurion's uniform by the gates of Buckingham Palace in protest against the way, he said, that Roman antiquities are being shockingly neglected in this country. I then remembered his advertisements for a half-share partner with 10,000 to spare to dig in his back garden at Cirencester. His silly remarks could not have been worse chosen, for in the same week the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works published Archaeological Excavations 1968, (HMSO 7 shillings), a brief summary of prehistoric, Roman and Medieval sites throughout Britain excavated in advance of destruction. This last year the Ministry needed all its resources to meet the demand for excavating and recording sites which were in immediate danger from industrial development of various kinds, and this had to be at the expense of many other monuments in less immediate danger from agricultural activities. Those of us who have had the privilege of directing an excavation for the Ministry know full well that assistance does not stop with the provision of finance and equipment: it includes laboratory investigations and facilities for the study and writing up of finds in the preparation of reports.

In 1968, no less than 91 sites were investigated, of which 81 were in England, 1 in Scotland and 9 in Wales. In addition, help was given by way of grants to 58 other emergency excavations. More than 60 Roman sites were excavated under the auspices of the Ministry and this must surely be a record. The timber bridge at Aldwincle in Northamptonshire, the work at Chester, Lincoln and the smaller towns at Horncastle, Margidunum and Godmanchester, where the plan of the mansio could be completed, and the cemetery at Baldock are only a few of the outstanding excavations. We notice with particular pleasure the official listing of Mr Brian Philp's Excavations at Faversham, 1965, the first Research Report of the Kent Archaeological Research Groups' Council, 1968.

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