This article appeared in the Autumn 1971 (Issue #25) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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The 'Progress' Roman Villa.
The exact site of the Roman villa discovered at Otford in 1928 has remained somewhat of a mystery. The two brief reports on the original excavation by Mr Bertram Pearce (Archaeologia Cantiana XXXIX (1927) page 153) and Archaeologia Cantiana XLII (1930) page 157, did not include a location map, but gave only general information on the precise site. The fragmentary plan suggests a building of some size, but the published finds are neither spectacular nor numerous. The only notable discovery was a small section of painted wall-plaster carrying the words BINA MANU, taken from classical mythology (Virgil Bk. V). Unfortunately, the site was not adequately protected during the winter of 1928 and the frost removed all of the plaster.<
At the request of the Archaeology Division of the Ordnance Survey and with the kind permission of Mr E J Hyde, of Otford, a limited test-excavation was carried out in April 1971 to relocate the villa. A trial-trench on the traditional site of the villa revealed undisturbed soil and no sign of Roman masonry, robbed or intact. A second trial-trench about 100 feet to the north-west, however, located a masonry wall, fallen wall-plaster, tesserae fragments and several potsherds.
This limited work has finally fixed the site of part of the villa complex beyond all doubt well to the south of the Pilgrim's Way. It lies within OS parcel 6319 at a point 86 feet from the west hedge, 183 feet from the east hedge and 90 feet from a north fence (NGR TQ 563-5926).
It is hoped that the Ancient Monuments Division of the DOE will increase the scheduled area and thus protect both the villa site and the adjacent area from vandals and from future development. The writer gratefully acknowledges the interest and encouragement of Mr and Mrs E J Hyde and Mr W Kirsch during the excavations.