Excavations along the Thames Estuary in North Kent


Peter Boyer, James Gerrard, Alexis Haslam and Stuart Holden with Jonathan Butler, 2014.

Kent Papers 1

ISBN 978-0992667238


This publication brings together the results of archaeological excavations undertaken by Pre-Construct Archaeology in five disparate locations across Kent between 2002 and 2005.
Site 1, at West Hill Hospital, Dartford had been severely truncated by terracing and other work associated with the construction of the hospital; archaeological remains survived only in two isolated pockets. Bronze Age and Iron Age activity included the remains of two roundhouses suggesting settlement of the area. Three Romano-British burials may have formed part of a late Roman inhumation cemetery adjacent to Watling Street.

At Site 2, in Gravesend, worked flints suggest activity dating from the Mesolithic to Early Neolithic periods. A larger assemblage of flint dating to the Middle Bronze Age and later, together with a smattering of later prehistoric features, is evidence of increased activity at this time. Field ditches and a late first-century crouched burial indicate that the sites lay in agricultural land beyond the area of settlement during the Roman period and continued to do so until the early sixteenth century, when the area was taken over by the local fish-smoking industry.
The excavation at Site 3 revealed the remains of the seventeenth-century vicarage and associated phases of extension and rebuilding, through which it was ultimately transformed into a substantial structure fronting the High Street. Medieval masonry robbed from the parish church was reused in the foundations of a late nineteenth-century soakaway.

Site 4 comprised medieval remains: backyard activity associated with terraced houses along Bell Road. A large assemblage of pottery and glass from cess pits provided information on the lives of the inhabitants and this forms a major focus of the report. Extensive quarrying reflects one of Sittingbourne’s major nineteenth-century industries, brick-making. Medieval worked stone from nearby St Michael’s church, discarded during restoration works, was recovered from a twentieth-century foundation.

Site 5, at Westgate on Sea, produced a Mesolithic to Early Neolithic flint blade and the remains of Mid–Late Bronze Age activity consisting of a pit and a ditch together with a few undated features. An assemblage of Bronze Age struck flint was recovered from the features and later dump layers.

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