This article appeared in the Autumn 1973 (Issue #33) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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News from the Groups.
1. Excavations and Surveys.
Work started in early April for the 7th season on the site at Lower Warbank, Keston. The period of occupation on this site ranges from Iron Age, through the Romano-British to the pagan Saxon -- a span of 1,000 years. The lively and hardworking 1973 Beginners' class from the Bromley Archaeological Training School supplemented the team of group members and experienced students and a good start has been made on the site.
Many interesting discoveries have so far been made. Especially important is the 1st century AD occupation on the site. Last year (see KAR Number 30  page 292) a deep enclosure ditch of the 1st century AD was found and this has now been traced for a further 70 feet. It is 5 feet deep with steep sides, a flat base and runs roughly east-west. Finds from the fill of the ditch include a fine twisted bronze necklace and a large bronze coin. Nearby is an extensive 1st century AD rubbish layer and this suggests that the occupation site was adjacent. Finds from this rich layer include quantities of coarse shell-loaded pottery, amphora, a stamped mortarium, decorated and stamped samian and three bronze brooches. Work will continue throughout the summer and autumn.
Surveys have continued in the West Kent area. Most important this spring was the watch on the Keston road-works at the junction of Downe Road with the main Westerham Road near Keston Parish Church. Romano-British pottery was found alongside the Downe Road.
Trial excavations were undertaken on the line of the M20 in Farningham with the kind co-operation of the farmer and farm manager. A new site, possibly Iron Age, was revealed. Further work will be undertaken and all possible help will be given by the Group to the full-time CIB Rescue Unit when the non-stop watch on the motorway begins.
Group members also undertook a joint excavation at Edenbridge with the Edenbridge Historical Society, whose co-operation is gratefully acknowledged. This was on open ground near Stangrove Road, where an unpublished excavation had taken place a few years earlier and the trenches left open. The excavation revealed mainly 18th-19th century features.
The Group has recently helped with three local conferences. Firstly with manning the bookstalls at the 'Rescue' AGM in London in March, and at the special fund-raising 'Rescue' symposium in April. Help with stewarding and the erection of a small display was given to the CKA at the Bromley conference on 28th April. All members who helped at these meetings are warmly thanked.
After several years of intensive and detailed work, the Group is very pleased to announce the completion of the publication of some 30 sites excavated between 1960 and 1970 in the Bromley area and in the Darent Valley. The Report will be published by the CKA in the autumn of this year and is a tribute to the dedication and determined efforts of Group members and the students of the Bromley Archaeological Training School.
All who contributed are sincerly thanked for all their efforts and hard work. Of the many who have helped in various ways a special mention must be made of Mrs P Crozier and J Newbery; Misses A Button and E Warman (now Mrs E Healey) and Messrs D Broadfoot, P Couldrey, R Gierth, M Godfrey, R Tedbury and T Woodman.Back to Top.
For a time we continued our assistance to John Villette at Kingsgate. We also made one brief excursion to the new section of the A2 at Barham. There was nothing to report in the bed of the road but we recorded interesting markings in an adjacent field ploughed for the first time for many years.
Our model of St Radigund's Abbey was finally completed and exhibited at the Bromley meeting of the CKA where it attracted favourable comment. The photograph, taken at Bromley, shows the model and some of the members who participated in its construction.
Since the start of the Dover 1973 dig on April 4 our members have been continuously and actively employed in helping the CIB. This will be the fourth year of major rescue archaeology which is adding new and important chapters to the early history of Dover.Back to Top.
The Fawkham and District Historical Society hold meetings on the first Friday of each month at 8.15 pm at the Village Hall, Fawkham. These cover a wide range of historical subjects, although mostly closely connected with local history. Many of the lectures are illustrated and outings are held. Visitors are always welcomed (5p a meeting) and the society's annual subscription is 50p or 25p for students and pensioners.Back to Top.
Since 1972 the full-time Rescue Unit has recorded 24 sites threatened with destruction throughout the county of Kent. These sites have ranged from Neolithic Iron Age, Romano-British, Saxon to Medieval and have been situated all over the county from places as far apart as Edenbridge and Darenth in the west to Folkestone and Dover in the east. More than 300 responsible volunteers and 12 local groups have assisted our various excavations and surveys and are warmly thanked. The Department of the Environment and the Kent County Council are gratefully acknowledged for their financial support of the vital full-time work of recording threatened archaeological sites. Since our last report we have welcomed two new members to the full-time team, which now stands at eight.
The main excavation since April has centred on Dover, where the 3 acre town development is due to start in October 1973. In just six months prime archaeological material has to be recorded before destruction and in this task the full-time team is very ably supported by the volunteer corps and the Dover Archaeological Group, whose hard work and enthusiasm is here acknowledged. During April and May the area to the south and east of the famous 'Painted House' was excavated and revealed considerable evidence of the Saxon town. This included a road, pits and possible structures. Finds included a large group of Saxon clay loom-weights, decorated bone and local and imported pottery. Below the Saxon levels, deep pits are revealing signs of substantial Roman masonry.
A small excavation was undertaken by the Corps in the Adrian Street area of Dover, where a building operation revealed Roman walls and opus signinum floors.
Golf course construction in the county has also revealed new sites or partly destroyed known sites. Help was given by the Corps to the Edenbridge and District Historical Society earlier in the year in recording Browns Manor, Edenbridge (KAR Number 32 (1973) pages 34-5). This site was partly destroyed by the golf course.
Extensive surveys were undertaken on the 150-acre site of the new golf course at Addington and the co-operation of the West Malling Golf Club is gratefully acknowledged. A medieval site was revealed and recorded. The West Kent Archaeological Group are thanked for their help with this excavation.
The West Kent Schools training-excavation is programmed to take place during July on the site of the Horton Kirby Roman Villa discovered by the Corps in 1972 during the Darent Valley Rescue Operation. A fine Roman granary was discovered only hours before a sewer-pipe was scheduled to be laid through it. An immediate appeal launched by the CKA saved the building from destruction (KAR Number 30 (1972), page 301). The three week training school is to cater for sixth formers from local schools. The results of the excavation will appear in a future issue of KAR.
Preparations are well ahead for the full-time excavation work and watch for the various pending Kent motorways. The Government has agreed to finance the Unit's work on these motorway projects. All local groups have been invited to give their support to this vital work. The motorways are the biggest threat to Kentish archaeology and it would be disastrous if lack of local co-operation resulted in the destruction of sites without record. A circular has been sent to the Groups concerned through the CKA emergency scheme and most of the initial surveys have been completed.
The Unit's work has already started on the Swanley-Dartford link road, where the first phase of bridge construction has begun. In March and June further air surveys were carried out over the West Kent motorways. Two possible sites were investigated immediately, and 800 air photographs of the route have been examined.Back to Top.