Kent Archaeological Review extract

St Mary Cray Roman Finds.
by Susann Palmer.
(Museum Curator.)

For a number of years now the Museum at Orpington, with volunteer helpers, has been excavating a Roman settlement site near the junction of Cray Avenue and Poverest Road.

Three complete rooms have been uncovered, two of which contain baths and possibly a hypocaust system, still to be investigated further. The one bath is contained within an apsidal room. The baths were probably filled by one of the many natural springs in the area and probably drained into a ditch which ran into the river nearby. Unfortunately much of the remains cannot be fully investigated as they continue under a road and adjacent buildings. The Roman building is adjacent to a Saxon cemetery of the late 5th to early 6th century.

While the volunteers were working on the site in July the Thames Water Authorities did several deep excavations in the Poverest Road /Cray Avenue and surrounding areas for pipe-laying, and the volunteers were therefore in the fortunate position of being able to keep watch on the operations from the beginning. The TWA also kindly informed us in advance of their intentions and we are most grateful to them for their co-operation. Mr B Philp also noticed the trenches and contacted the museum. One of the trenches adjacent to the traffic lights contained a small area of compacted flints and was investigated further. As an adjacent trench contained evidence of riverine deposits, it was concluded that the flint spread could possibly be remnants of a Roman road or cobbled quay-side area. Fair quantities of Roman pottery and building material were recovered from all the trenches made by the TW Authorities.

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