LORD OF THE MANOR RAMSGATE
Building on the experience of several one and two
day IOTAS digs over the previous 18 months we felt confident that we
had the equipment, the experience and enough interest from members to
run a full week's dig for the first time since Abbey Farm Villa in
2004. Having obtained permission from the landowner David Steed, one of
our Vice-Presidents, it was agreed that we should revisit the
well-known Neolithic to Early Bronze Age ceremonial landscape, situated
at the Lord of the Manor end of the Haine Road in Ramsgate. The dig was
directed by Nigel McPherson Grant with the logistics organised by the
Fieldwork Committee of the Society.
The ditched enclosures and barrows marked as LOM
1-6 on this plan are
part of an extensive site in use between approximately c.2800-1700 BC.
The large early Anglo Saxon cemetery is on the eastern side of the road
in the area of Lom3A and LOM5. This whole site was thoroughly
investigated in the 1970s and 1980s by the Thanet Archaeological Unit
(forerunner of the Society) and our director was part of the original
Dave Perkins' team at that time.
The topsoil was cleared by machine thanks to the
generosity of local contractor John Reeve and all trenches shown on the
plan were carefully excavated by the IOTAS team.
More than 20 members of the Society signed up for
various periods of the week, including several new members who had
never done any practical archaeology. In a busy week all participants
learnt a great deal about basic excavation techniques and
was cut across the Later Neolithic
enclosure LOM1 excavated in 1976 and revealed some new features
including a cluster of Late Bronze Age pits cut into the fill of the
ditch. The discovery of a large fresh animal bone at the bottom of the
ditch, and some charcoal, will enable the first radiocarbon dating of
any of these circular monuments to be made. Trench 2 established that
the feature it cut was a natural periglacial hollow.
by the road cut a curved settlement
boundary ditch showing on aerial photographs, and finds of pottery
confirmed its date as Mid to Mid Late Iron Age. The shallower later
straight ditch is likely to be Early to Mid Roman.
Both Trench 3 ditches cut a large irregular hollow
at its northerly end most likely a quarry for chalk to marl adjacent
fields and dated to the Medieval period. Trench 4 was inconclusive,
probably showing another chalk quarry.
Unstratified in Trench 3 were found: above,
the Early Bronze Age barbed and tanged arrowhead and below, a
Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age knife, the latter found at the end
of the dig, sticking out of the side of the cut through the probably
Trench 5 was cut across a deep V-shaped field
ditch. Here a single sherd of later Iron Age pottery was found.
Elsewhere to the north, off the plan, an unstratified Roman Spanish
amphora handle was found in an area where a brief investigation was
made after the farmer reported a heavily flinted region of the field.
In a notoriously exposed corner of Thanet this
flimsy gazebo protected the team from stormy weather but had become
unusable by Day 4! It is now undergoing winter repairs.
Following this educational and enjoyable week we
plan another dig in the same general area in the summer of 2013, again
with the expert guidance of Nigel McPherson Grant.
Here is a link to a local press account about one of the finds:
ST. PETER'S FOOTPATH MARGATE
Society has started a new project to investigate the history of the
ancient track, now mainly a public footpath, which runs past Draper's Mill
in Margate. More than a dozen excavations have taken place over the
past 100 years within a few metres of this track which links St. John's
Church, Margate with St. Peter's Church, Broadstairs and the project
plans to bring together this published and un-published material into a
comprehensive report. We hope to systematically survey the land along
the footpath and members will be involved in desktop studies of the
history and archaeology, geophysical surveys, and field walking as land
becomes available and permissions obtained.
The 1769 Andrew's Map of
Thanet appears to show a section of what is now St. Peter's Footpath
Anyone with particular knowledge of the history of this route across
Thanet, or possessing old documents about the ancient use of this
trackway is invited to contact the Society Fieldwork Group email@example.com. Research and
fieldwork will continue through to at least 2012.
In a joint research project with Dane Valley Woods Group we will be
digging some test pits in and around the footpath in the vicinity of
the railway footbridge on October 29th/30th 2011. Visitors welcome to
watch us work!
|25th and 26th July 2009
IN SEARCH OF OUR ROMAN PAST!
The Society participated in the 2009 Festival of British Archaeology by
organising an event in Tivoli Park Margate. More than a dozen of our
members were involved in the various activities and we were visited by
several hundred local people over the weekend who seemed very
interested in hearing about the history and archaeology of this special
area of Margate, and learning more about the Society. Our marquee had a
fascinating display about what we now know of the Tivoli Roman "Villa",
and another section had a fine collection of old prints and information
about the popular Tivoli Pleasure Gardens of the 18th and 19th
centuries. Some interesting ancient artefacts and pottery found locally
by the team were on show, and as finds were recovered from the new
trenches visitors could watch "potwashing" and then handle the finds.
Geophys was demonstrated near the football pitch, and at the Tivoli
Park Avenue end of the park four small trenches were dug and recorded
by our members, under the watchful eye of Ges Moody and Paul Hart of
the Trust for Thanet Archaeology.
Amazingly one member of the public was able to give us a first-hand
account of seeing a Roman hypocaust (underfloor heating system)
excavated under nearby Mere Gate in the 1920's when she was four years
old; this is another piece of useful information which is helping the
Society to gradually build up a better picture of the area in the Iron
Age and Roman periods. Thank you Mrs. Jewiss!
A full account of our excavations will be published in due course but
we can say that on this occasion we found, as usual, sherds of pottery
from the Iron Age, and Roman period, along with food debris including
animal bone and oyster shells.
1. Paul photographs a
trench 2. Ges points members to the next step
3. Jan and Margaret discuss pottery finds 4. Dave Perkins identifies an
|19th March 2009
Amongst the objectives of the Society's regular digs in various front
and back gardens in Tivoli Park Avenue, Margate, and in Tivoli Park
itself, has been to re-locate a large Roman building first discovered
in the area by Dr. Arthur Rowe in the 1920's. A test pit this week
exposed what appears to be the foundation trench of a wall which seems
to fit in well with the predicted location and orientation of the Roman
"villa". The site was never properly recorded at the time of first
excavation and all we have had previously as evidence of its position
has been a single general view photograph. We hope we have now put it
firmly on the map, but more work is still required before we can be
certain. Thanks to the Avenue residents for permitting us to disrupt,
albeit temporarily, their garden planting schemes!
More on Tivoli here.
Members of the Society carry out regular geophysical
surveys and limited excavations around Thanet.
Geophys at Elmwood farm near
North Foreland, Broadstairs.