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Kent Archaeological Review extract

News from the Groups.
by Various Contributors.



During the winter months the Corps has carried out three main projects and the usual series of minor ones.


The excavations and recordings in the very heart of historic Dover began again in early January, when another site became available in the Queen Street area. The developers are allowing time for archaeological investigation between the completion. of the demolition work and the start of their building programme.

So far the work has revealed deeply buried and remarkably rich Roman deposits, substantial structures and roads relating to the Classis Britannica and the later 'Saxon Shore' forts. On a second site, again within the Town Centre Development, complex Saxon structures and underlying late-Roman timber buildings have been recorded.


Another team has continued the vital and lengthy task of preparing the Dover publication. This work takes place in the Work Centre at Dover Castle and is well up to schedule.


The motorway team has continued the work on the Kent motorways, concentrating mainly on the Dartford-Swanley link and M20. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the West Kent Border Archaeological Group. The construction work should start shortly on these two lengths of the West Kent motorways. Final checks have been made on the aerial photographs, the records and maps and a geophysical survey on the Dartford-Swanley link was made by the DOE. The final intensive field surveys and trial excavations are well under way and so far have produced two new sites. Trenching on the line of the M20 Farningham interchange revealed another new prehistoric site.

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Since our last report the Group has completed its work on the Sports Centre site at Dover (KAR Number 34). The second trench was taken to a maximum depth of 2.3 metres without reaching natural. There were no new features. With the kind permission of Dover Corporation it is hoped to observe the excavations for the new Sports Centre adjacent to our trial trenches.

A well, revealed by demolition work at the former Scotts Dyeworks in Snargate Street, was inspected and a record was made of the details of construction, the pumping arrangements and such measurements as it was possible to take. It seems clear the the well was dug in connection with the former Grand Shaft Barracks on the Western Heights and that the well shaft was linked by an adit with Scotts Dyeworks at a later date. The well head was capped shortly after World War II but the adit was potentially dangerous and has now been sealed.

Following the wet weather of September/October, 1973, a marked depression appeared in a field near Worth and a preliminary excavation revealed a well shaft 30 centimetres below the surface of the field. For a depth of 1.25 metres the shaft was lined with clay-bonded flints. Below that it was cut into the natural chalk. The chalk shaft was in good firm condition and it was possible to continue the excavation down to the level of the water table at 8.07 metres. There were toe holes in the flint and chalk throughout the depth and the cylindrical shaft opened out into a bulbous shape at the bottom. There were no significant finds in the upper part of the fill but in the bottom 60 centimetres of sticky brickearth and chalk wash about 800 sherds, together with animal bones, leather fragments and struck flints were recovered. The earliest pottery has been tentatively dated to the 13th century. The excavation was directed by John Gaunt.

Not far away in the same field the owner reported an unexpected scatter of chalk fragments in a band running across the field. Probing and the digging of two slots confirmed the line of a rammed chalk road. No dating evidence has, so far, been obtained.

We are grateful to the landowner, Mr C Birch, for bringing both features to our notice and for the generous facilities afforded to us to investigate them.

At Broadstairs, through the kindness of a local builder, our attention was drawn to features which appeared in the footing trenches of a new house. In all one storage pit and 12 U-shaped ditches were recorded from which possible Iron Age sherds, pot boilers and animal bones were recovered.

For much of the period covered by this report members were helping in the CIB excavations at Dover.

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Since our last report most of the group has been involved in the continuing rescue work being carried on at Dover throughout the winter months. With summer on its way we are hoping to carry out a limited excavation at Reculver in order to clear up one or two problems.

Later this year we hope to publish a revised issue of the "Reculver Booklet" -- the 5th edition has already been sold out and the sixth edition should have a slightly new look.

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Thanks largely to the continued enthusiasm and hard work of Ian Bethune and Paul Fosbraey the displays at the Court Hall Museum, Milton Regis, have been rearranged and revitalised for the 1974 season. This showcase of local history and archaeology opened for the new season on March 9th and will be open to the public on alternate Saturday afternoons throughout the summer.

The 1972-73 phase of the excavation at Radfield (KAR Number 35, page 131, 1974) has been completed and a report is in preparation. Further work at this site will probably include an attempt to trace the (2nd Century?) ditch system, provided that more pressing work is not indicated in the course of numerous redevelopment projects in progress in the Sittingbourne area.

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WEST KENT BORDER by Edna Mynott.

The winter months have been spent mainly on field survey work. Firstly a large area of arable land on Wickham Court Farm, West Wickham was thoroughly surveyed ahead of the building of an electricity sub-station. The site lies near the known line of the main Roman London-Lewes road and close to the find spots of two axes found by the farmer (see KAR Number 34 (1973) page 99). A concentration of flints, including some tools and waste material, was located and deserves further work before the sub-station is built. The continued support and interest of the farmers, Messrs E and C Pallant, is gratefully acknowledged.

On a larger scale and in conjunction with the CIB Archaeological Rescue Corps, field surveys and trial excavations have been undertaken in the Swanley and Farningham areas. This work is being carried out ahead of the construction of the M20 and Dartford-Swanley link motorways. This has produced three interesting new sites so far, all of prehistoric date.

The 1973-74 season of public archaeological lectures drew to a close in March. These have proved to be as popular as ever and the next season's programme is now being prepared. All the speakers are warmly thanked for their lectures.

The work of processing the many finds and the preparation of material for publication continued throughout the winter in our Research Centre in Bromley. Negotiations with the London Borough of Bromley for better archaeological facilities in this rich Borough have been pursued with vigour. The need for a better equipped Centre and facilities for public access to see the thousands of interesting and important finds has become even more vital and it is hoped that the Borough Council will rise to the occasion.

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