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Kent Archaeological Review extract

News from the Groups.
by Various Contributors.



The last section of the Late Bronze Age barrow ditch was excavated before the winter began and attention was directed to two nearby sites. The first was in the area of Challock church where the reclamation of old woodland revealed three areas of Medieval occupation.

The second was also an area of old woodland and scrub part of which contained boundary banks of Celtic fields under heavy bracken. This formed part of the Godmersham Park estate adjoining Chilham Castle ground on the South of the Pilgrims Way (TR 0580 5205) but although Belgic sherds were found in several places they were too few to warrant assuming the site as a habitation area. Between this area and Chilham Castle, aerial photographs of the County Council Survey of 1961 show what appears to be a Bell-Disc barrow (TR 0610 5270). On investigation, this perfect. circle with a diameter of sixty feet, was found to be caused by deer during the rutting season. a similar mark twenty yards to the West being used as a challenging area by a stag during October-November of this year whilst the group members were there.

Permission is being sought to try and establish why these particular spots were used as such, the whole area being flat and within four hundred yards of a Romano- British settlement excavated in 1942.

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The Group completed its 6th season of excavation on Hayes Common in September 1965. For the first time since excavations began the Group was permitted to fence off part of the Common and the site was left open for the whole summer. The area, frequented by several thousand people each week, now comes under the jurisdiction of the Greater London Council of Bromley. Accordingly, Public Liability Insurance cover to the extent of 50,000 had to he taken out; all fences had to be four feet high and no excavation deeper than three feet.

The excavations were again concentrated on the site of the Late Bronze farmstead, first discovered by the Group in 1963. Some 35 small pits were found, but of these only 10 could certainly be associated with the site. Several had traces of clay-linings and were probably used originally for storage. Several contained small fragments of pottery in extremely poor condition; pieces of saddle-querns and a complete half of a cylindrical loom-weight. The quernstone fragments are identical to those found in 1963 and 1964 and the loom-weight is the third from the site. No more ditches were located, but three post-holes with flint-packing were found. This is the first evidence of a possible structure so far found on the site.

The system of field-banks which covers large parts of the Common was again examined. Pits and material dateable to the Late Bronze Age were again the only finds from either beneath or in the banks.

The Group may be precluded from following up these discoveries at any length by the dense woodland covering most of the site. All natural vegetation is jealously guarded and cannot he touched.

In addition to the Hayes Common project. the Group has maintained constant watch on the SEGB pipe-trench (see page 7) on both sides of the Kent and Surrey border. Constant watch has also been kept on massive building operations at Addington (Surrey). Assistance has also been given with emergency operations at Addington (Kent) and Weston Wood (Surrey); and with research excavations at Reculver. The Group's series of winter excavations began in October on Roman and Neolithic sites at Hayes and so far progress huts been good. The winter meetings have been resumed and include progress reports on excavations, the training scheme, slide-quizzes and informal talks by members on a variety of subjects.

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Much fieldwork has taken place during the early summer but apart from our work at Eccles and the rescue 'dig' at Snodland excavations were kept to a minimum. The Regional Survey has continued and a number of new sites have been found. They include several of the Romano-British period in the Hoo and Stoke marshes, which appear similar to others known in the Medway area, and a medieval site at Deadmans Island, Chetney, with two distinct occupations, one dating from the 13th Century and the other from the 16th and 17th Centuries. An examination of Bluebell Hill, Aylesford for signs of a reported Roman building yielded valuable information but the location of the building has not yet been definitely established. A site on the foreshore at Cliffe yielded pottery of second and third century date and evidence of salt-panning. Investigations in the locality of Bredhurst have now been concluded. This was the first area to he examined under the scheme and much information on the archaeology and history of the village has been collected. The identification of a 19th Century balloon pit was of particular interest. Some unpublished photographs of Romano-British pottery kilns found thirty years ago at Bromhey Farm. Cooling, have been discovered. The site, which was extensive, has never been fully reported and some additional information has now been obtained.

The rescue excavations on the site of a Roman Villa at Snodland Gas Works have now been completed. Much of the building had been destroyed in 1928 but enough remained to give a general picture of the site. A watch is being kept on building operations which are now taking place and further discoveries are anticipated. A watch was kept on a new sewer trench at Rainham and what may have been the gallery to a chalk-well was discovered. Members of the Group assisted at a rescue 'dig' carried out by the Ministry of Public Building and Works at East Malling, in May, on the site of a Roman Villa. The area investigated was mainly outside the remains of the building, much of which must still remain in adjacent fields. The existence of the site has been known for a number of years.

During the past three months information has been received that foundations are met with by the plough in a field near Hoo. The area is close to the site of some earlier discoveries of the Romano-British period. Several areas of the Isle of Sheppey are being investigated and a new sewerage scheme was watched whilst under construction at Motney Hill, Rainham. In Rochester work on King's School assembly Hall has revealed traces of a ditch, part of the City's 14th Century defences.

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