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This year, the Autumn Conference saw the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the CKA, following its formation in October 1964, and was held at Christ Church University College, Canterbury, on Saturday, 6th November 2004.
The conference was opened by the Conference Chairman, Dr Bob Baxter, who welcomed the Chairman of the Kent County Council, Councillor Kent Tucker, MBE.
Councillor Tucker then addressed the 180 people present (active members of Kent groups, Friends of the CKA, and other interested members of the public), reflecting on the accomplishments of the CKA until the present time.
The conference then continued with presentations from Victor Smith, who spoke on "The Discovery of the Roman Religious Town at Springhead", followed by Brian Philp (Chairman of the CKA) who recounted his experiences when "Excavating the Roman Forts at Dover and Reculver".
After the two main presentations had been made, it was time to make awards to local groups, organisations, and individuals who had advanced the cause of archaeology in Kent.
Two awards were made:
- The Co-operation Award to Robin Dayne, for his work on the Abbey Barns, Faversham, and
- The Local Group award to Howard Jones of the Dover Group, in memory of Ben Stocker.
Then it was tea-time.
In a departure from the traditional format, it had been decided that the opportunity would be given to a number of local Kent groups to showcase the work that they have been carrying out until the present.
And while the audience were out of the hall, it was time for the volunteers to rearrange the seating arrangements so that six Kent groups could give simultaneous presentations of their work:
- Orpington and District Archaeological Society,
- Springhead Excavation Group,
- Lower Medway Archaeological Research Unit,
- Upchurch Archaeological Research Group,
- Dover Archaeological Group,
- Bromley and West Kent Archaeological Group.
On reentering the hall, the audience was split up into six groups and they then moved from presentation-to-presentation where they were told about the work of the groups, and given the opportunity to look at their publications, see displays of artifacts from excavations, site plans, etc.
Then, later when the audience groups had visited the displays, the 40th anniversary conference came to an end.
Dr Bob Baxter then closed the conference, wishing the audience a safe journey home and reminding them that the next CKA Conference will be held in Sevenoaks in April next year (2005) on the theme of 'Historic Houses in Kent'.
The CKA now looks forward to the next 40 years of supporting archaeology in Kent.