Kent Archaeological Review extract

New Sites at Springhead.
by Sydney R Harker.

During 1976 there was a substantial amount of civil engineering work carried out in the vicinity of Springhead and a close watch was kept on the progress of these operations which included cable laying both north and south of the established site. The initial stripping of the topsoil in preparation for power cable laying, revealed an unsuspected site to the east of the railway embankment where a concentration of pottery sherds and bones suggested an occupation area. This was soon confirmed when the trench was cut, a flint construction and a pit being revealed.

By arrangement with the contractors, their operations in this area were sus- pended for a period of 48 hours to enable us to investigate. It was soon clear that the trench had exposed the top of a well and cut through the side of a small rubbish pit a few metres away. The well was cleared to a depth of five metres before conditions at the bottom made it unsafe to continue. Although the full depth was not firmly established it is unlikely that it was much deeper than shown in the sectional drawing. There was a fair quantity of pottery in the pit and well filling, mainly of 1st. and 2nd century AD date, with a small amount of later material. Several bone pins and one of bronze were recovered from the well together with bones of domestic animals. An interesting item was a fragment of a large pot with frilled rim bearing a crude representation of a human face, generally accepted as an emblem of a rural deity. The possibility of this having some votive significance cannot be ruled out having regard to the religious associations of Springhead. No other structures have yet been noted in the immediate area but it seems clear that the features noted would not have existed on their own.

A telephone cable trench on the north side of the A2 roadway was mainly un- productive as the ground had been made up, but at the foot of the embankment in front of the CEGB switching station it cut through the lower part of what must originally have been a deep shaft. At the bottom were the remains of at least five dogs, a lamb and a small bird as yet not identified. The ritual significance of such a deposit, which has several parallels in the pagan Celtic world seems undeniable.

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