This article appeared in the Winter 1972 (Issue #30) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
Permission should be sought from the Honorary editor (in writing) to reproduce or quote from articles in the K A R.
The CKA and the Honorary Editor are not responsible for opinions and statements expressed by contributors to the K A R.
News from the Groups.
The group's activities at Reculver have been kept to a minimum recently, due to our constant assistance on major rescue excavations throughout the county. Working wth the CIB Rescue Corps earlier in the year, we worked on a total of eleven sites, including Farningham Manor, the Darenth and the Horton Kirby Roman Villas.
Our continued assistance on the CIB Rescue Excavations at Dover, has again meant the cancellation of the Reculver Summer Dig. We apologise to all those who miss us. Two of our members, Harold Gough and Dennis Hicks continue vigilance in and around the Roman fort. It is apt that in supporting the excavations at Dover we have moved from one Roman Fort of the Saxon Shore to another.
This may well be the time to explain that we believe the work at Reculver can wait a little while longer. Since Faversham Abbey in 1965 our main purpose has been to assist rescue excavations in Kent. There is now a major archaeological crisis in our county. Motorways and redevelopment schemes are generally destroying, in very little time, that which has taken man five or six thousand years to create. It may be worthwhile to bear in mind that it would take only one bulldozer less than twenty minutes to totally destroy Stonehenge, which has remained largely untouched for four thousand years. Thus, faced with similar archaeological crises throughout Kent we hope it will be understood why no "large holes" have appeared at Reculver again this year.Back to Top.
The Otford Group is investigating a site which has recently turned up on the Gas Pipeline and it appears that there are a number of rubbish pits or dumps of the second and third centuries close to the river. Further details will be provided for a further issue of the "KAR".Back to Top.
Work has continued steadily throughout the season so far with reasonably rewarding results. A fortnight's continuous dig at the beginning of August was very successful and exposed the surface of a branch road to the west of the temple area which must be the Temenos Road West previously conjectured and now proved beyond doubt. The road surface and the ditches yielded a variety of small finds, particularly iron work suggesting that buildings adjoining the road at this point which included a number of large hearths may have been used by a blacksmith.
Adjoining this area, practically the whole plan of Temple VII has now been exposed except where it is overlaid on the western side by the buildings referred to above. A pit with contents datable to the mid 2nd century, dug through the portico wall reinforces the hypothesis that the structure is of first century date and was probably demolished early in the second century when the large temples were erected.
A well lined with wood and approximately fifteen feet deep has also been examined with rather poor results. It was probably in use for a short period only, possibly due to a collapse of the wooden frame work at the bottom which led to its being backfilled and abandoned.
Favoured by good weather the Open Days were an undoubted success. Nearly 700 visitors were guided around the site and given a detailed account of the discoveries to date. A comprehensive exhibition based on current finds and laid out in a large marquee attracted much favourable comment. The only disappointing aspect was the very small number of Friends of CKA who availed themselves of the opportunity to visit this interesting site.Back to Top.
Work has continued since the Spring on the complex and important site at Lower Warbank, Keston. The West Kent Group and the Bromley Archaeological Training School started this season's work in April and continued until the end of July, when many members and students travelled to Dover to help the CIB Archaeological Rescue Corps on the large-scale rescue excavation taking place there. Early September saw the return of the troops to the site at Keston ready for much hard work to try to finish all the necessary recording and photography before the winter weather set in.
The excavation has again proved fruitful and highly important to our knowledge of Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon West Kent. An interesting complex of Iron Age post-holes has been uncovered and probably relates to a nearby hut. Previously (see KAR Number 21, page 22) the outline of another Iron Age hut was found under the Roman villa to the west. Several large pits and another post-hole complex were excavated last year (1971), so the Iron Age site must have covered a considerable area. This summer, more important rubbish and storage pits have been found, including a bell-shaped storage pit. This contained much pottery of the first century BC and several clay loom-weights. During the excavation a pied wagtail took advantage of one of the excavated post-holes and built its nest there. We are pleased to report that three chicks were hatched and successfully reared.
In the south area of the site, rubbish deposits of the late-Roman period were excavated together with a large area of metalling of pebbles, flints and chalk blocks -- probably a road. A first century AD gully was found and this contained quantities of pottery. The north end of this gully was found during the 1971 excavation; this year the south-east corner and eastern arm were discovered forming an enclosure. More Saxon pottery was also recovered on this site, which extends the known area of Saxon settlement at Keston.
The winter programme started in October. The all-important weekly meetings of the Group continue in order to process finds and prepare material for publication. The Bromley Archaeological Training School begins its sixth year and the monthly public lectures in Bromley have now started.Back to Top.
Our report is shorter than usual as most of us are fully engaged on the 1972 Dover dig. It has been an excellent experience for us all, especially for our younger members and 1972 has been as rewarding and enjoyable as the two previous years spent on this site.
We have learned a great deal from the lectures that the guides gave to the multitudes of visitors who came to see the site, although some of the guides' material is not only unpublished but unlikely ever to be so! Our monthly meetings continue and several new members have been welcomed into the Group. We have also started work on a model for the Council for Kentish Archaeology's spring meeting in 1973. A watch has been kept on construction work at the Ridgeway, River, Dover, where sherds have been recovered from a medieval road thought to be of 15th century construction. We hope to start soon, with kind permission of the National Coal Board, on a survey of the Tilmanstone minewater pipeline.Back to Top.
During the summer months members have been engaged in a wide variety of activities. Although our work has been mainly centred on our own area, as usual members have given assistance to ventures further afield when required. Recently a small number of our Group helped at Brenley Corner, Faversham, where excavations of a Roman site are being carried out, under the direction of the 'Curator of Canterbury Museum, in advance of motorway extensions. Also, Ralph Mills has been busily engaged with the CIB at the Painted House site, Dover. The many interesting and historic buildings in the area 'have attracted our attention, and we have spent several weekends surveying and recording. The redundant Bull Inn in Sittingbourne High Street was photographed and recorded some time ago. More recently a derelict cottage near Oad Street was drawn to our attention. It proved to be a small dwelling of no great architectural merit, but nevertheless, a typical timber framed building, probably dating from the seventeenth century.
Sir Leslie Doubleday kindly gave permission to survey and photograph part of the interesting timber framed building known as Old Court House, Teynham. The house is divided at present but we were able to photograph the unusual plaster ceiling, decorated with a tudor-rose motif. This house is adjacent to the site of the Archbishop's Palace, another area worthy of further investigation in due course.
More recently members visited the beautiful Jacobean Tunstall House, and were allowed to photograph the many interesting features. We have to thank Lt Col and Mrs R H L Webb for their kindness and hospitality on this occasion.
Weekly meetings continue to be held at our headquarters in the Court Hall, Milton. On occasions meetings were substituted by visits to local historic buildings. Amongst places visited were Binbury Castle, Detling, of which a gatehouse and dovecot remain; Thurnham Castle; and the earthwork at Stockbury Castle. The chancel, all that remains of old Murston church was visited and found to be in a sadly dilapidated state.
The Court Hall, Milton, continues to attract many visitors on open days, the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm We have to thank our two young members, Ian Bethune and Paul Frosbraey, for arranging the interesting displays and acting as curators. On a recent open day, Upchurch Group arranged a display of finds from the Roman sites on the marsh. During the current excavations at Stone Chapel, under the direction of ColMeates, several members assisted.
At nearby Radfield a field survey recently revealed a further quantity of decorated Samian ware. This was in a field adjacent to where the Group carried out excavations some time ago.
Monthly lectures are being held at the Ypres Hall, Sittingbourne, and Brian Philp's talk on Faversham Abbey started the series in September. Details and tickets are available from our Group Representative.Back to Top.