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Kent Archaeological Review extract

An Iron Age Site at Barham Down.
by Brian Philp.

The construction of a new carriage-way for the A2 trunk-road at Barham Down, between Canterbury and Dover, has proved a fine opportunity for local archaeologists. A wide strip of ground, in places more than 200 feet across and of very considerable length, had been top-soiled by the contractors and the underlying chalk exposed.

On 28th February, 1971, members of the Reculver Excavation Group, en route from Dover to Reculver, carried out a quick inspection of the area. It was immediately apparent that an extensive archaeological site had already been exposed by the contractors and was due for almost total destruction. An immediate rescue-excavation was carried out by the Group in snowy conditions and with the ready co-operation of the contractors. The site and the finds were then passed over to members of the Canterbury Archaeological Society and Mr A C Hogarth who subsequently carried out further excavations.

The preliminary work revealed a series of large circular pits of varying depths dug into the underlying chalk. Several of these produced fragments of Early Iron Age pottery and it seems probable that most of these pits had been dug for storage purposes. At both ends of the site were groups of post-holes representing structures of some sort, perhaps domestic huts. A series of ditches of varying sizes crossed the same area, but nothing was recovered from them in the time available. A large hollow at the edge of the area produced sherds of medieval pottery and fragments of Roman tile were later dislodged by a bulldozer from a mound nearby. A narrow band of broken flints ran roughly north-west to south-east across the site and must represent a metalled track or road.

The writer wishes to acknowledge the hard work, under difficult winter conditions, of Miss P George, Miss E Mynott, Mr H Davies and Mr E Connell.

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