Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit.

Established 1971: to survey, excavate, record and publish threatened archaeological sites.

Director: Dr Brian Philp AICSA, MCMI, FSA, MIFA.
Honorary Treasurer: Colin Martin FCCA.    Secretary: Edna Mynott.

To: The News Editor
        Kent on Sunday

PRESS RELEASE 31st October, 2005.


A major new research volume, on a long-term programme of excavation and discoveries at Reculver, near Herne Bay in Kent, is being published on 5th November. Written by Dr Brian Philp, director of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit, it deals with 11 years of rescue and research work on the large Roman fort there, now half destroyed by coastal erosion. The fort belonged to a chain of Roman fortifications covering the coast from the Isle of Wight to the Wash. These had been constructed against significant Saxon attacks.

The discoveries included the Headquarters of the garrison, the largest building of its type so far found in Southern Britain. In addition a fine bath-house with elaborate under-floor heating, the officers' quarters and several barracks were discovered. The excavations also revealed two monumental gate-houses, several internal roads, the bank and ditches of the fort's defences and also examined the stone fort wall at several points.

The finds included hundreds of Roman coins, large quantities of fine imported pottery and small objects such as arrow heads, ivory scabbard tips, bone pins and bronze brooches. Of exceptional importance were tiles stamped C I B, which proved that the garrison of the fort as the Cohors I Baetasiorum, exactly as listed in the famous Notitia Dignitatum document written 1,600 years ago.

The new evidence from the coins, pottery, architectural detail and stratigraphy now establish that the Reculver Roman fort was constructed in the last two decades of the 2nd century AD. This is more than 40 years earlier than other Roman forts in the chain had previously been dated. The new date for Reculver certainly takes with it the Roman forts at Brancaster, Caister-on-sea, Carisbrooke and perhaps others lost to the sea. Another seven forts were clearly added to the system at the end of the 3rd century AD as the Saxon attacks increased. This new evidence is a major advance for Roman military studies and demonstrates that the Saxon menace was already a major threat before AD 200.

For further information please contact Dr Brian Philp

Location. Address. Phone number.
East Kent: Roman Painted House, New Street, Dover, Kent, CT17 9AJ. Tel. 01304 203279.
West Kent: 18 Highfield Avenue, ORPINGTON, BR6 6LF.


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