Opening Address by Mr Kent Tucker MBE Chairman of Kent County Council.
I am really pleased to be asked to open the Council for Kentish Archaeology Conference at Canterbury, as my predecessors have done for the past 20 years. I note with particular interest and pleasure that the CKA is today celebrating its 40th anniversary following its formation in October 1964.
I understand that the formation of the CKA came about as a result of two factors. The 1960's saw a considerable expansion in leisure and cultural activities, following the hardship and austerity in the immediate-post war years. This led to the rapid increase in archaeological interest and activity and the formation of several local groups in Kent. At the same time fresh large scale development projects, both commercial and state sponsored, were beginning to cause serious damage to buried archaeological sites, causing a loss to the county heritage. To meet this threat the local groups formed the CKA as a federation to enable co-operation across the entire county. New sites were then excavated and recorded ahead of development and many of these have since been published. No other county can match this fine record.
In addition, the CKA launched its quarterly journal, the now famous Kent Archaeological Review, which this week has published its 159th edition. The CKA also holds two annual conferences at towns in Kent dealing with a range of topics including research, discovery and presentation. Indeed today is the 80th Conference in this series.
In 1971, the fulltime Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit was formed, largely drawn from local groups and again this was the first county unit in the country. The valuable work of the local groups and the rescue unit continues until this day, with excellent results. More than 700 projects have been undertaken and whole new chapters of Kent's history have been revealed. These include projects at Springhead, Reculver, Dover, Faversham, Upchurch, Medway, Deal, Keston and St Mary Cray.
The CKA still remains the best example of co-operation between volunteer and fulltime archaeologists in the country. Large numbers of reports have now been published and this work is continuing. Today special attention is being given to the presentation of our archaeological heritage to children and school parties at Crofton Roman Villa and The Dover Painted House. Long may your good work continue.