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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Faversham Roman Villa and Belgic Settlement.
by Brian Philp.

During July, the Reculver Excavation Group undertook large-scale emergency excavations at Faversham on behalf of the Ministry of Public Building and Works. Flint foundations of a previously unknown Roman villa had been exposed by bulldozers close to the site of the Cluniac Abbey excavated by the Group earlier in the year.

The walls and floors had been totally destroyed, but foundations and robber trenches survived and the ground-plan was recovered. Four phases of construction were detected. The first villa, probably of late-1st century date, consisted of a simple range with penthouse on the east side; this was extended and corridors added. The third phase consisted of the additions of wings, the south one containing an apsidal dining-room complete with at least one mosaic floor heated by a channelled hypocaust. At about AD 200, the south end of the villa had been rebuilt. Much painted wall-plaster was found, and several of the rooms contained hearths.

Beneath the villa were found shallow ditches relating to a settlement of Belgic date. More ditches and pits were found to the south and west, and an extensive site is indicated. A large amount of domestic rubbish needs detailed study.

The villa site was totally excavated in a period of ten days, and the Belgic site investigated for another eight; some 70 volunteers assisted with this emergency, often working until 10 pm. These included members of the Fawkham, Lower Medway, Orpington, Reculver, Sittingbourne and West Kent Border Groups. Mechanical excavators were used for two days, and this is the eighth time we have used these mechanical aids on emergency sites.

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