This article appeared in the Autumn 1965 (Issue #1) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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News from the Groups.
The STOW VALLEY RESEARCH GROUP, CANTERBURY Reported by F Jenkins.
The large mound on the north side of Longport, within the precinct of St
Augustine's Abbey is currently being examined. Foundations more than twenty
feet long North-South and about sixteen feet wide East-West have been exposed.
Two periods of construction are clear. The earlier, consisting of a foundation of
flints laid in yellow sharp sand mortar, as yet not fully exposed, seems to he of late
13th-14th century date. The building it once supported had been demolished down
to the original ground level.
Later, another building was erected on the same site. The fragments of tooled
Caen-stone incorporated in the remains of this structure, such as parts of a window
or door jamb and a large pillar, suggest that it was built from material taken
from the earlier building. If, on the other hand, the stone-work was taken from
the nearby Abbey or the Church of St Pancras, there seems very little reason to
doubt that a post-Reformation date is indicated.
The mound itself has not been excavated, but there is every reason for thinking that it is artificial. It is significant that recently a human skeleton was discovered under the pavement on the south side of the mound, which is known to
have been scarped hack, hence the burial once lay under the tail of the mound.
Part of a human skull was also found near that place a few weeks ago.
Members of the Group visited Breach Downs, Barham, and inspected the site
of the discovery of two fine specimens of Middle Bronze Age palstaves (NGR
TR 208 480). The site is only a few feet to the East of the group of Saxon tumuli.
A visit was also made to Westwood Farm, Kingston, where in a field to the north-
west of the farm two deposits of black ash and many burnt flints had been turned up by the plough. 'Unfortunately, no dateable objects were associated with
these features. During the course of this visit, Mr F J Fagg, the farmer, showed
us a small palstave of mid-Bronze Age type, which he found on one of his fields
close to the ruined Reed's windmill (NGR TR 173 499 approx.), which stands
about 4 miles to the north-west of the site of the Breach Downs discovery. All
three palstaves are at present in private possession, but arrangements have been
made to have them fully documented.
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CRAYFORD ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH GROUP Reported by G K Horner.
The Crayford Archaeological Research Group began in September 1964, excavating at Summer House Knoll in Lullingstone Park at a point where first-century
pottery had been observed on the field surface. Aerial photographs were thought
to show a linear ditch running for at least half a mile through the park and crossing this point. This "ditch" has now been disproved, the indication on the photograph being due to a partially buried negative lynchet.
Trenching rapidly revealed a sub-rectangular enclosure, about 60 feet square,
hounded by a ditch. Much of the Roman ground level has been eroded by plough,
but at its deepest point the ditch is now some 3 feet deep and 5 feet. wide. It is
neatly cut with a V-shaped section and a slightly rounded bottom. The corners
are near right angles.
The ditches appear to have been filled deliberately between about AD 60-90,
probably towards the end of that period. No later pottery has yet been discovered.
The area bounded by the ditch encloses several substantial post-holes. Some of
these are relatively modern, perhaps remains of a deer fence. An insufficient area
has been cleared to give any idea of the plan of the early post-holes. No pits or
other structures have been recovered. There is a little burnt clay, but no tile.
At a point near the middle of the east side of the enclosure a ditch, shallower but otherwise similar to the enclosure ditch, branches out at right angles
and travels for over 20 feet. It has not yet been further examined.
In summary, it appears that the site may be a small first-century farmstead,
possibly surrounded by its own ditched fields. It went out of use at a time when
the villas of the Darenth Valley were being built and when, it seems, smaller farms
were being swallowed up by larger estates. There are several sites within a mile of
the present One producing a pottery series ending at a similar date.
The site is an exciting one in that it should he possible to reveal the plan of
a complete early Roman farmstead. The ground is likely to change ownership
shortly, and the work. must be carried out as soon as possible.
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TUNBRIDGE WELLS & DISTRICT ARCHAEOLOGICAL GROUP Reported by J H Money.
The Group, which was formed in January 1965, covers Tunbridge Wells,
Tonbridge and Edenbridge in Kent, and Wadhurst, Frant, Withyham and Crow-
borough in Sussex.
The Officers of the Group are:
Chairman: Mr J H Money; Vice-Chairman: Mr F H Hawkins; Secretary & Treasurer: M K J Hurle.
Local representatives are: Mrs Bradley, The Museum, Town Hall, Tunbridge
Wells; Miss S J Hardy, The Public Library, Tonbridge; and Mr J Irwin, Bell-
man's Green, Edenbridge.
During 1965, the Group will be engaged on the final season of the excavation
of a Romano-British iron-working site near Withyham. The site is rare in so far
as it is completely undisturbed, and so far has provided a unique and more or less
intact furnace, pits, slag-heaps and occupation material including pottery, mainly
native ware, a quern, a grinding-stone and a spindle-whorl.
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SITTINGBOURNE & SWALE ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH GROUP Reported by D M Ford.
The recent redevelopment and industrial expansion, together with the Town
Plan Scheme, in the Sittingbourne area has given a unique opportunity for the
study and recording of local problems. In addition to possible emergency excavations in the town centre, plans for long-term research on local sites necessitated the
formation of the Sittingbourne Group, which aims at surveying in detail the Swale
district, together with a wider area surrounded by the Mid-Kent North Downs,
between the Medway and the Stour, and including also the Isle of Sheppey.
The policy summarised below is intended to facilitate co-ordination, and is
- sites recorded previously, which are fully documented on a card-index;
- long-term research projects;
- the location of new sites and the recording of unpublished material;
- emergency work.
It is intended to hold
regular meetings, and to publish a newsletter in order to disseminate information.
The co-operation of local schools has been invited, and a special pamphlet for
schools has been prepared. Liaison is also being maintained with the local press
and the local government authority.
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DOVER and DISTRICT GROUP Reported by A C Hogarth.
Contact has been established with the Borough and Rural District Councils,
which have notified us of all sites due for development and have agreed to continue doing this; we have thus been able to visit sites well in advance of contractors.
Each site was visited regularly whilst work was in progress, and inspections
were made of trenches and spoil heaps; in general, contractors have mostly agreed
to notify anything unusual found during trenching or levelling.
Efforts have also been made to organise a system of reporting to the Group
chance finds by farmers on their land.
Our work has been hampered by the lack of archaeological records in our
area, and work has been started to compile maps and lists of finds in the district.
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WEST KENT BORDER ARCHAEOLOGICAL GROUP Reportedby E Warman.
The Group continued its research and excavation policy during 1964, and
worked on some twenty sites, ranging from Neolithic, Early Bronze Age, Late
Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romano-British to Saxon, which have been mainly found
by the Group as a result of field-work in recent years. Detailed examination of
field-surfaces is followed by trial excavations to establish the limits of new sites,
but large-scale excavation is only attempted where this would substantially increase knowledge; for instance, a Romano-British building found in October 1964
will only be covered by a short series of trenches to establish its limits and a probable date, and pre-Roman sites are given priority.
Emergency work still takes top priority. Early in 1964, help was given with
the excavations at Springhead before road-operations, and in August the Group
helped in the excavation by the Guildhall Museum of a large bath-house discovered in the City; work was also undertaken this year at Polhill (see page 3)
Faversham (see page 6)
as well as continuing with the Hayes Common project.
Our monthly meetings continue to he well attended, and training and progress reports still prove the main items. The Group has recently applied to Bromley Council for the establishment of a local museum to house the ever-increasing
number of finds.
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