Kent Archaeological Review extract

Apparent Demolition of the Neolithic Settlement at Grovehurst near Sittingbourne.
by Robert Baxter.

Following a report by a member of the Sittingbourne and Swale Archaeol- ogical Research Group that an electricity sub-station was to be erected to the north of Kemsley village, the area was investigated in early April 1976. At this time considerable levelling and grading work had already taken place over an area of several tens of hectares to the east of the Sittingbourne to Sheerness railway. A survey carried out by the Group on May 9th confirmed that the operations of the Central Electricity Generating Board extended over the Neolithic site at Grovehurst, as marked on the Ordnance Survey maps (NGR TQ 9088 6666). Comparison of on-the-spot measurements with OS maps indicated that the Neolithic site lay 50 metres inside the southern perimeter of the redevelopment area. The area had been completely transformed and it seemed most likely that the site had been demolished, although burial under the raised causeway which encircles the redevelopment is a possibility.

The Grovehurst site was originally discovered and reported by G Payne, and consisted of several circular depressions, possibly representing the floors of dwellings. Payne's large collection of worked stone implements is now in the British Museum. [1]

The site had not been preserved or protected in recent years, and, since 1970 at least, nothing of the site could be seen except an expanse of shrubbery. The site had not apparently been excavated by modern systematic technique. The opportunity so to do appears, by recent events, to have been lost.

The assistance of Mr D S Cousins, DMA, ALA, in locating references to Grovehurst, is gratefully acknowledged.

Arch. Cant. 13: 122-126, 1880).


The following corection was publishd in the Winter 1976, Issue 46, of the KAR:


It is apparent, from information received from various sources, including the developers themselves, that the Sittingbourne and Swale Archaeological Research Group was too hasty in its bemoaning of the apparent recent demolition of the Stone Age site at Grovehurst, Sittingbourne (KAR Number 45, page109). It seems that the brickearthing activity, which originally revealed the site in the 1870's, continued on to destroy the feature. The site was therefore probably neutralized a century or so before the electricity substation work commenced! The Group in general, and the author in particular, was misled by the persistence of the site-marker on recent Ordnance Survey maps, and by the lack of mention of the site's destruction in the archaeological literature.

Close Window
Accessed this page via search engine or bookmark? Full K A R Index here.