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Kent Archaeological Review extract

The Roman Fort -- 1969.

(Reculver Excavation Group.)

The Reculver Excavation Group completed its 1969 programme of work in October, having spent five weeks on the site in August and September. Two major excavations were undertaken, one dealing with the Roman fort is reported here, and the other dealing with the Saxon Church will follow in due course. The Roman site lay north of the Via Principalis and north-east of the East Gate (see Figure). This was supplemented by trenches to the north almost reaching the new sea-wall.

The area had been occupied formerly by the derelict coastguard cottages and their gardens, which were recently cleared (Review Number 16, page 15). The excavation revealed two deep ditches running north-south across the site. These contained sherds of mid-first century pottery and clearly these ditches relate to the earthwork found in previous years and thought to be a fortlet of Claudian date.

PLAN: Reculver excavations 1969.

Plan Caption: Reculver excavations 1969.

The ditches had totally silted by the early-third century when the great eight-acre Roman stone fort of Regulbium was built. The area revealed a small section of the north edge of the main east-west road (Via Principalis) across the fort. No trace of any masonry building was found to the north nor was there any trace of the foundation-pebble as found east of the headquarters (Principia). Instead a wooden building nearly 25 feet in width and of unknown length had been built across the filling of the first century ditches. It seems likely that this was a temporary structure constructed when the fort was built. Simple rectangular slots had been dug to receive upright wooden posts, traces of which were found. The slots also contained two sherds of pottery dating to about AD 200.

The timber building was abandoned during the third century as the drain from the bath-house, found further west in 1965 (Review Number 3, page 5), cut through it. This drain was found to contain quantities of domestic rubbish, including pottery, and coins. Most of these appear to date to the first half of the fourth century. From this evidence it seems probable that the wooden building and the drain represent different periods of occupation.

The whole area was heavily disturbed in Medieval and later times by many pits and gullies. Several produced pottery of thirteenth century date.

The work was again carried out in co-operation with the Ministry of Public Building and Works. The Group gratefully acknowledges the interest and support of the Archbishop of Canterbury; The Patriarch of the Serbian Church; Mr Norman Cook, Mr Peter Mills and Mr Alan Gidlow. The supervisors were Mr H E Gough, Mr E Connell, Mr H Davies, Mr D Ellwood and Mr D Garrod, all of whom worked with considerable proficiency. Of the diggers Mrs N Roberts, Miss J Banks, Miss C Blackett, Miss D Phillips and Mr P Knivett, Mr A Ross and Mr K Keysall deserve special mention for their hard work. Lenfield Engineering Ltd kindly supplied plant for the initial site-clearance and final back-filling.

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