This article appeared in the Autumn 1972 (Issue #29) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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News from the Groups.
Group members continue to help with the work at Chart Mills, Faversham, where the restoration scheme has entered its final phase. A coffee morning in March at the Fleur de Lis Centre, Preston Street, enabled townspeople to see how the Faversham Society Volunteers were progressing with the conversion of the former public house to an Arts Centre and Local History Museum. Donations are still needed to assist with the cost of the purchase and conversion. Bill Bunting and Alan Gidlow continue to travel the County explaining the gunpowder making process. Shaun Theobald continues to "haunt" local churchyards and churches, between trips to such places as the Outer Hebrides. An Archaeology Club has been started by Alan Gidlow, assisted by Kim Middleton, at the Sheppey School, and members hope to work on Kent sites during the summer monthes. A programme has been planned for the Group's monthly meetings, and it will include talks on the Tyler Hill Tile and Pottery Kilns, Henry Hatch, Faversham's merchant adventurer, coins and Trench Warfare or "Into action with the Philp Fusiliers."Back to Top.
The Group has several projects under way at present, including the route of the proposed motorway M25, which has been covered with the help of ordinance survey site cards and aerial photographs, and a constant watch is being kept along this route.
A complete survey of the Otford Palace is being made to include the latest finds made by the Group in Bubblestone Road. This will be included in a book on the History of Otford, at present being compiled by Mr R D Clarke and Mr A D Stoyle of the Otford Historical Society, which is due for publication in 1975. Excavation reports on two Romano-British sites in Otford are being brought up to date, namely the Isolation Hospital site and the Frog Farm Cemetery and these will be ready for publication shortly.
We have gained several new members recently and we welcome them to the fold. Two ODAG members are attending Archaeological courses at London University and it is hoped their knowledge will help broaden the Groups experience and range.Back to Top.
Since our last report, the Group have now arranged a system whereby we open the Court Hall Museum, Milton, to the public on the second and fourth Saturday afternoon of each month. Regular weekly working meeting are held at the museum which we also use as a centre to process our finds. On the 28th April last, Brian Philp came to Sittingbourne and gave us an excellent lecture on the excavation and discovery of the Roman Forts at Dover. Over sixty people attended the lecture and we enrolled a number of new members into our group.
The group have been busy in the field with work continuing at Castle Rough, Kemsley, although we still have no evidence of a Danish settlement. Members have also been digging at a Roman site at Horton Kirby which was uncovered whilst sewer pipes were being laid.Back to Top.
The bulk of the Group's activity recently has been spent at Dover helping with the continuing rescue-work in the town. However, in the early summer members of the Group, carried out various operations in the Reculver area. As in previous years Harold Gough remains alert for any new developments and Dennis Hicks maintains a full-time patrol on the Roman fort and Saxon church.Back to Top.
Our monthly meetings continue and have included short talks by members on archaeological topics.
A brief dig was undertaken on a building site between the Dour and London Road, River. Here a metalled road, possibly part of the Pilgrims Way, was uncovered, and both Roman and medieval sherds were found. Two week-ends were spent helping clean, repair and paint the CIB HQ in the precincts of Dover Castle and moving the large quantity of Dover 1970/72 finds and equipment. The survey of old St James' Church has continued, and also work on the new water pipe-line running in a north-east direction from Hougham. There 1st and 2nd century Roman pits and ditches and extensive medieval sherds and Mesolithic tools have been revealed in four sites. Three-and-a-half miles of water pipe-line between Sutton and Walmer have been inspected and three ditches and associated medieval pottery recorded.
Some members have also taken part in the Rescue excavation at South Darenth and Horton Kirby, and thus helped our friends in west Kent.Back to Top.
During the spring and early summer months the Group continued its survey work on both M20 and M25 ahead of construction. It also assisted the CIB Rescue Corps with the major rescue excavations at Farningham Manor and Darenth Roman Villa. The sixth season of excavation run in conjunction with the Bromley Archaeological Training School was started on the Iron Age, Roman and Saxon complex at Keston. This site, the most important archaeological site in the Bromley area, is due to be destroyed by Ringway C.
Owing to the increasing number of finds from local sites, particularly the large number from Lower Warbank, the existing Bromley Centre has become overcrowded. To meet this situation the Group has constructed a special storage centre on private ground at a cost of £120. All those who helped with the excavation of the foundations, concreting, erecting and decorating of the centre are warmly thanked for all their hard work.
In addition four new projects or excavations have been undertaken over the last few months. One was the limited excavation of a newly-descovered Medieval site at Nash Farm, West Wickham. This was discovered when a sewer-pipe was laid and produced an important group of 13th and 14th century pottery. The second project was also on Nash Farm, where a fine timber-framed barn has been recorded by a team under the direction of Mr M Godfrey. Both of these projects have been undertaken by the kind permission of Mr L Whitman.
Two exploratory excavations were undertaken at Easter at Holwood Park, Keston by the kind permission of Mr D C Bradford of Seismograph Ltd. The first located a largely complete tile-kiln of late Medieval date and the second another important Romano-British site. The latter produced quantities of pottery and a fine quern-stone.Back to Top.
After concentrating on the excavation of the Romano-Celtic temple at Boxted over the two previous years, the report of which is being prepared for publication, the group has carried on with their routine research work. Early in January amid the snow, fost and fog, a suvey was carried out on behalf of the Kent Mesolithic Research Group of the Palaeolithic flint industry of Lower Gillingham. A large number of artifacts were found, mainly flakes, and including a few from the Mesolithic period. The co-operation of the Ashford and Area and the Sittingbourne Archaeological Groups in this project was very much appreciated.
While on this project a field which had recently been deep ploughed was walked and a small quantity of 17th-18th century pottery was found at NGR TQ 8031 6742. Mr Harrison of Twydall Farm is thanked for his help and for allowing us access to his fields.
Advantage was taken of the suitable tides during the spring and late summer for work on the far flung sites on the Medway marshes. Small but important advances were made in our understanding of the various features of these difficult sites.
Site 004 is yielding a quantity of Pre-Roman Iron Age material. Site 005 is similar along with later Roman material. This site also provides by far the better quality of material relating to the manufacture of salt. This material consists of the furniture and fabric of ovens used in process of salt making and is in an extremely fragile condition. The gathering of information of this industry is proceeding slowly but surely. A gold stater of the Gallo-British Atrebates was found near this site, but unfortunately it was unstratified, but it does fit in with the general pattern of the area. A more detailed report of this coin is in preparation. Site 015 also seems to be part of the salt industry. A number of ovens and the usual debris associated with them is the feature of this site. A new site, 019, was added to our ever growing list this year. This site is slightly out of character with the other marsh sites in being of medieval date (circa 13th century), our second medieval site. A quantity of pottery was found in what appears to have been a bog or pond also found were various pieces of leather outstanding among these being the remains of a boot or shoe.
Group policy of regular meetings has been kept up and we have welcomed six new members to our number during the year. We were also able to supply a small work force at the site of a medieval tile kiln at Tyler Hill (KAR 25). Four members were able to join in the work at Dover for prolonged periods, gaining valuable experience and aching backs.
As the year closes, the Newington-Hartlip sewage scheme is well under way and we are back among the sounds of the bulldozer JCB. To date, the trench has travelled mainly through ground that has been previously worked for gravel or brickearth. It is under constant surveillance and although our resources have not yet been tested by a rescue operation we remain poised and ready should it happen.Back to Top.