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Kent Archaeological Review extract

CIB Archaeological Rescue Corps.
by Howard Davies.

Here is a special announcement. After being in unofficial existence since 1964 the CIB Archaeological Rescue Corps has now been officially created. Its director is Mr B J Philp and the Corps has at once been recognised by the Department of the Environment and the CKA. It all began in 1964 when the urgent need for rescue-work in Kent was first being advocated on a county-wide basis. Previously, apart from isolated work at such places as Canterbury, Holborough and Reculver the great bulk of excavation was directed at villas, hillforts and other sites not in immediate danger of destruction. Just how many large and small sites were destroyed without any record in those years before 1964 we may never learn.

The CIB Corps was the first in the field, comprised mostly of hard-core members of the Reculver and the West Kent Border Groups who readily combined for operations over a wide area. Most of the large-scale rescue-excavations such as Faversham Abbey (1965), Faversham Roman villa (1965), Operation Gaspipes (1966 and later), Polhill Saxon cemetery (1964 and 1967), City of London (1968), Darenth Roman villa (1969) and Dover (1970 and 1971) were very substantially supported by the CIB. It became clear that intensive rescue-work for protracted periods called for special qualities. Firstly, all those involved must have had training in excavation methods and techniques; secondly, all must be able to work very hard under difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions; and thirdly all must be temperamentally suitable. Thus over the years a special corps emerged who have proved their worth and have now been awarded the honour of CIB. This is a mark of having made a substantial contribution to rescue-work in Kent. It is hoped that each year more and more part-time archaeologists will earn this distinction.

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