Kent Archaeological Review extract

News from the Groups.
by Various Contributors.



The Unit continued its massive programme of rescue work in many parts of Kent with the support and backing of the Department of the Environment, Kent County Council, various local authorities, the Council for Kentish Archaeology, more than a dozen responsible local groups and large numbers of individuals. Grateful thanks are extended to all of these.


The 1974 programme of rescue excavation on six major sites in Dover Town Centre was completed by late November, through the continued co-operation of Dover District Council and Maybrook Properties Ltd. Further Roman and medieval structures were located and highly significant information concerning the Roman, Saxon and medieval town plans. In addition new information was obtained about the coastline and harbour developments over many centuries.

The programme was unduly prolonged owing to weeks of heavy rain resulting in the worst conditions for 20 years. All members of both the full-time and part-time teams are to be thanked for their endurance in such severe conditions. The indoor programme of work began in December to carry out the preparation of several archaeological reports for publication.


Excavation and recording has continued in the centre of Dartford under the supervision of Derek Garrod and with the co-operation of John Mowlem Ltd. Information regarding both Roman and medieval Dartford has been gained from this 4-acre site fronting Roman Watling Street. Roman structures have been located and a large part of a medieval masonry building.


Construction work on two motorways in Kent should start during 1975 and the final field surveys are being undertaken during the winter months. In West Kent the Unit, in conjunction with the West Kent Archaeological Group, is surveying the Farningham to West Kingsdown sector of the M20. In East Kent the Dover Archaeological Group, working on behalf of the Unit, is undertaking the field surveys on the Dover to Lydden Bypass. Most of the landowners have readily granted permission and are warmly thanked for their ready co-operation.


A hitherto unknown Romano-British cemetery was located and excavated during roadworks at Northbourne in October 1974. The site, which produced inhumations and cremations of the third century, was completed under the joint directorship of Brian Philp and John Gaunt in just 10 days.


Discoveries on another major development, close to the centre of Margate, was reported to the Unit by Mr John Villette, who has been carrying out archaeological surveillance in the area for several years. Instant rescue work, with the kind co-operation of Thanet District Council and Kier Ltd, recovered material of Neolithic, Roman and medieval date. The area had been heavily disturbed by cellars and footings of the 19th century terraced houses which once stood on the site. A number of disturbed graves were also found. Members of the Unit, in particular Wendy Williams and John Villette and members of the Dover Archaeological Group are thanked for their hard work.

Archaeological Survey of Kent.

Two members of the Unit have spent five months carrying out a detailed survey of the archaeological needs of the County in terms of priorities and rescue work. This has been done through the co-operation of the West Kent Archaeological Group at the Bromley Centre. The Unit hopes that it will be possible to publish the results sometime in 1975.

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The West Kent Group is continuing a very varied and interesting programme of work during the winter months. Foremost in importance is the preparation of material for future publication. The group considers publication to be a most vital part of its work and sincerely thanks all those who are making great efforts to see that this side of activities is kept as up to date as possible. Despite adverse weather the group has carried out regular patrols of the West Kent area. It has also been able to help the full-time Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit with emergency work at Meopham and hopes to be able to help the Unit again when it starts the M20 field surveys in the near future. The programme of winter Lectures held monthly at Bromley is again proving to be a great success with full 'houses' at almost each one. After a break for tea, each evening usually concludes with some slides of our more recent work. We find this an excellent way of making the public aware of our efforts as well as those of Rescue Archaeology generally. The Bromley Archaeology Training School started a new course in January and the students like the present 2nd year class, are expected to make a valuable contribution to the coming season. Back to Top.


With the preparation of the report on the 1972-73 Training Excavation at Radfield hopefully "under control" the Group decided to take advantage of a recent influx of new members by commencing some limited digging operations on the site. The object of the exercise will be to trace the line of a ditch system (containing 1st and 2nd century AD material) revealed during the 1972-73 programme and thereby provide the opportunity for a few more people to learn at least the rudiments of archaeological techniques.

The Group would like to take this opportunity of thanking the speakers who contributed to the recently completed and successful series of lectures on aspects of Kentish archaeology. The lectures were held in the attractive setting of the 15th century Court Hall, Milton Regis and thanks are due to the Swale District Council for permission to use this venue and for their active support of the venture. The lectures were well-attended and many appreciative comments were later received from members of the audience.

The speakers and topics were: David Kelly ("Prehistoric Kent"), Duncan Harrington ("Medieval Tile Kilns at Canterbury"), Brian Philp ("Rescue Archaeology in Kent, 1973"), Syd Harker ("The Roman Town at Springhead") and Jim Bradshaw ("Field Archaeology in East Kent"). It is hoped to arrange a further series in 1975.

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