Kent Archaeological Review extract

Cliff-face Rescue at Reculver.
by John Willson.
(Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit and Reculver Excavation Group.)

During the past year long periods of heavy rain, storms and rough seas between Reculver and Herne Bay have caused considerable erosion and many cliff collapses. The Unit and Reculver Excavation Group jointly have kept a constant watch on the situation and it became clear that further cliff erosion would destroy vital archaeological evidence relating to the Reculver Roman fort. Accordingly, in November the Unit and Reculver Group carried out a limited rescue-excavation on the cliff face to the west of the fort with the full approval of the new Canterbury District Council.

The excavation, carried out on a cold November day, soon revealed evid- ence of road metalling, three ditches and a large pit. The metalling is almost certainly that of the Regulbium to Durovernum Roman road leading from the west gate of the fort. The ditches were associated with the metalling and showed signs of re-cutting. Pottery of 3rd and 4th century date was recovered from the ditches and the nearby pit as was a small quantity of tile. One piece, thanks to the 'eagle eye' of the Director, was found to be part of a tile stamped CIB (of the First Cohort of Baetasii), who according to the Notitia Dignitatum were garrisoned at Reculver during the 3rd century.

Rescue-excavations have been carried out on this site every year since 1952 by members of the Reculver Excavation Group who in 1971 joined ranks with the West Kent Group to assist in the large-scale rescue-excavations at Dover and other threatened sites in Kent. These two teams formed the basis of the KARU It is hoped that the large-scale programme of work at Reculver will resume in the not too distant future and in the meantime urgent rescue-work will be carried out there as situations demand.

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