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Published by Oxford Wessex Archaeology, a joint venture between Oxford Archaeology and Wessex Archaeology

Oxford Archaeology Ltd 2017


Wessex Archaeology Ltd 2017

Oxford Archaeology, Janus House, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0ES

Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, SP4 6EB

Front cover: Aerial view of the East Kent Access Phase 2 road under construction (view from south); Iron Age horse burial, Late Bronze Age gold bracelets, Roman dish with pig bone and Anglo-Saxon
triple burial.
Back cover: Open day in Zone 23visitors viewing one of the Early Bronze Age ring ditches.

Oxford Archaeology Ltd is a company limited by guarantee registered in England, company number 1618597. It is a Charity registered in England and Wales, number 285627.
Our registered office is at Janus House, Osney Mead, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 0ES.

Wessex Archaeology Ltd is a company limited by guarantee registered in England, company number 1712772. It is a Charity registered in England and Wales, number 287786 and in Scotland, Scottish
Charity number SC042630.
Our registered office is at Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 6EB.
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 1

Introduction
The work, carried out on behalf of Kent
County Council was the biggest archaeological
Manston
excavation in the UK in 2010. It was undertaken
Telegraph Hill to a very tight schedule, only made possible by
Zone 25
Zone 22 Zone 21a Manston Airport the close cooperation between the principal
Zone Zone 29
24 Zone 23 A253
parties involved, comprising construction
Zone 19
Zone 21
Zone 20 Zone 20a Zone 18 team Volkerfitzpatrick Hochtief who appointed
Zone 19a Hollins
OWA as the archaeological contractor, Atkins
Zone 18a Zone 17 Ramsgate who were responsible for the delivery of
Bottom
Foads Hill Zone 16 the archaeological works, KCC Heritage
Zone 14
Zone 13
Zone 15 Conservation who monitored the works, and
Zone 11
B2048
Zone 12
Aerial photograph showing Cliffs End spur in foreground Jacobs who acted as project managers for the
Sevenscore (Zones 1315) and chalk ridge in background (Zones 1720), road scheme.
Zone 26
Zone 28 with Manston airport in upper right hand corner and the
Zone 10
Minster
Thames Estuary beyond (view from east)
F o rmer coa
Zone 10a Cliffs End Community outreach formed an important and
stli
ne Cottington Hill Zone 9 The new road runs eastwards along the chalk integral part of the project from the outset,
Zone 8 ridge occupied by Manston Airport, then and the investigation of one of the Early
0 1 km southwards down the scarp slope and onto Bronze Age ring ditches was undertaken as a
Zone 7 the low-lying Ebbsfleet peninsula, a spur of community excavation using volunteer staff
land projecting south into the former Wantsum under archaeological supervision. In addition,
Pegwell Bay
Zone 6 Channel, with a branch of the road continuing a wide-ranging programme of events including
56

Birmingham Norwich eastwards north of Cliffs End. Thanet, open days, school visits, roadshows and public
A2

Zone 5
Zone 4 Ebbsfleet effectively an island from the Early Bronze talks was organised, engaging with thousands
Peninsula
Oxford
Age until the 15th century AD, is now joined of local people.
Zone 3 to the mainland following the silting up and
The Site River Stou
London r reclamation of the Wantsum Channel. Excavations in progress in Zone 13, immediately ahead of rail
Zone 2 tunnel approach works (view from west)
Zone 1

Richborough Port

Site location plan, showing excavation zones against local topography

For thousands of years East Kent has been a 6.5-kilometre route. These revealed a wealth
gateway for new peoples, new cultures, new of archaeological evidence spanning the
ideas and for trade. Kent County Councils (KCC) Palaeolithic to the Second World War.
construction of a new road link, the second
phase of the East Kent Access (EKA2), on Because this landscape was known to be rich
the south side of the Isle of Thanet provided in archaeological remains the decision was
a rare opportunity to undertake large-scale taken at the planning stage to excavate the
investigations of this important archaeological entire route (divided into 28 Zones), without
landscape. preliminary large-scale evaluation trenching.
This approach has allowed a far better
The Oxford Wessex Archaeology (OWA) understanding of the nature and development
joint venture, at times involving over 150 of the landscapes settlement to be gained than
archaeologists, undertook a series of would have been possible through a series of
excavations, covering 48 hectares, along the more piecemeal excavations.
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 2

Mesolithic and Neolithic (85002400 BC)


With the exception of a single flint flake of opposing entrances was suggested by the
probable Palaeolithic date and one further Late remains of an early enclosure defined by a
Upper Palaeolithic/Early Mesolithic piece, the ditch and bank. This occupied a prominent spur
earliest discoveries were a Mesolithic tranchet and overlooked Pegwell Bay. The monument,
axe and a small number of microliths and other perhaps serving as an important local meeting
diagnostic pieces of similar date. Although all place, had been almost completely dug away by
the Mesolithic material was found residually in an Early Bronze Age ring ditch at least a couple
later features, it was concentrated on the low- of centuries later. Two chisel arrowheads, one
lying ground of the Ebbsfleet peninsula, before recovered from the Bronze Age ditch, the other
the rising sea-level during this period had fully from the enclosures interior, provide some
encroached on the Wantsum Channel and evidence for Late Neolithic activity at this
rendered Thanet an island. location, perhaps of a ceremonial nature.

Two small groups of Early Neolithic pits with


Neolithic polished and flaked flint axes from Zones 6 and 11 Middle Neolithic pottery from a pit in Zone 10
associated assemblages of pottery and
worked flint represent rare occurrences in this
landscape, which included the nearby Early
Neolithic causewayed enclosure at Chalk Hill,
Ramsgate. The radiocarbon dating of charred
plant remains from the pits confirmed the
presence of flax in this period, along with grains
of emmer wheat and hazelnut shell fragments.
Notable concentrations of worked flint on the
Ebbsfleet peninsula indicated locations of in
situ knapping, exploiting different sources of
the raw material. These included the eastwest
outcrop of good quality Bullhead flint below the
crest of the chalk ridge, flint nodules from the
chalk itself and poorer quality material provided
by beach cobbles.

The earliest burial found during the


investigation (in Zone 13) dated to the Middle
Neolithic. The inhumation, an adult male aged
between 46 and 65, had been laid on his left
side in a flexed position; no grave goods were
found with the burial, the date of which was
established by radiocarbon dating. Middle
Neolithic Mortlake-style pottery was found in
a pit (in Zone 10) which also contained worked
flint and a small amount of cremated human
bone, probably from an infant.
Possible Late Neolithic hengiform monument
Late Neolithic material was also generally replaced by Early Bronze Age ring ditch in Zone
sparse, although the presence in Zone 13 of 13, with the rising ground of Foads Hill beyond
a circular possible hengiform monument with (view from south-east)
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 3

An Early Bronze Age funerary landscape (24001500 BC)


The Early Bronze Age remains consisted almost suggesting it enclosed an area some 23 m
entirely of funerary monuments 11 ring (north-south) by 17 m (eastwest). No features
ditches representing the ploughed out remains were recorded in the exposed part of its interior,
of round barrows were identified across the and it is possible that this monument, in a less
varied landscape. This is perhaps unsurprising prominent location, may not have been used for
given that Thanet is rich in such monuments, burial.
though relatively sparse in features related to
settlement, as is typical locally and regionally. There were suggestions that the largest of the
ring ditches, 36 m in internal diameter, had
Most of the monuments appear to have been been remodelled from an earlier hengiform
of comparable size and shape, all but one monument of Late Neolithic date. It was the
of the ditches having internal diameters of south-eastern, and slightly more elevated, of
between 17 m and 25 m. Five of them were a pair of monuments, just 24 m apart, at Cliffs
defined by single ditches, while the others had End overlooking Pegwell Bay (in Zone 13). The
both internal and external ditches, comprising few finds recovered provide no reliable dating
variable combinations of annular and for its construction, but a Middle Bronze Age
penannular ditches probably indicating different burial was found dug into the upper fills of the
phases of construction. ditch.

While the majority of the known barrows were The smaller adjacent barrow had been
sited on relatively high ground on the chalk destroyed on one side by a railway cutting and
ridge, five of those revealed were at lower was therefore only partly exposed. It comprised
levels within the landscape. The most southerly an outer ring ditch and an internal penannular
of these, on a slight knoll on the Ebbsfleet ditch, 14 m in diameter, open to the south. At
peninsula (in Zone 3), comprised a wide outer least eight graves seven inhumations and
penannular ditch open towards the north-east, one cremation grave were exposed, with two,
and a narrower inner ring ditch 8 m in diameter. both of adults, cutting the inner ditch, and the
There was a central oval pit but it contained others, mostly of infants and juveniles, between
no human bone. In some barrows, the graves the ditches. The earliest was an unurned
may have been dug into the now ploughed-out cremation burial, dated to 20301770 cal BC,
mounds and so have not survived. while two of the inhumations may have been
of Middle rather than Early Bronze Age date.
A pair of adjacent double ring ditches, 8 m The only grave goods, from a childs grave,
apart, were exposed on Cottington Hill (in comprised two tiny fragments of gold sheet and
Zone 8), at the northern end of the peninsula. a small blue faience bead.
Although that to the south had several pits
in its interior, no graves were identified.
However, fragments of cremated human bone
were recovered from dumps of charcoal-rich
material in the outer ditch, the source of which
Top: Beginning of the community excavation in Zone 23,
is unclear. Only the north-western edge of the following cleaning of one of the Early Bronze Age ring ditches
adjacent monument was exposed, and very (view from north)
little of its interior.
Bottom: Early Bronze Age ring ditches in Zone 8 on Cottington
Hill (view from west)
Part of what appeared to be an oval ring ditch
was revealed in Zone 10, its projected line
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 4

Early and Middle Bronze Age barrows on the chalk ridge


Five Early Bronze Age round barrows were found The disarticulated remains of another adult uncovered, comprised two concentric ditches,
in more elevated positions on the chalk ridge (probably male) were recovered from the ring the outer ditch originally penannular in form
overlooking the Wantsum Channel (in Zones ditch. Only one of the burials that of the with an east-facing entrance. Near the centre
21 and 23) with Pegwell Bay and the English youngest of the women was accompanied by of the inner ditch, which was 14 m in diameter,
Channel beyond where a large number of any grave goods, these comprising a unique was a cremation grave containing the burial of
such monuments were already known. They miniature Triple Food Vessel, a bronze pin and a young person aged 1415. The single-ditched
were sited just below the top of the ridge, their an amber button, the assemblage hinting at the monument to the east was also originally
false cresting making them visually prominent possibility of a connection with the east coast of penannular in form, with a wide opening on
from the lower ground and perhaps also from northern England. Of the monument to the east, the eastern side, subsequently closed by a
the water. While there was some evidence which was approximately 18 m in diameter, shallower ditch completing the circuit. No
for woodland clearance in this area, and for only the eastern half was exposed. There were features were recorded in its interior, but in the
flint knapping with large deposits of waste two child inhumation graves within its interior, Middle Bronze Age a woman aged over 55 had
debris in one of the ring ditches, there were few one aged less than 5 years, the other aged 56 been buried in the ditch on the north-east side.
indications of settlement activity. years; neither contained grave goods.
Also of Middle Bronze Age date was a much Above: Triple Food Vessel
Two Early Bronze Age barrows (some 300 m A line of three closely spaced ring ditches was smaller ring ditch, just 5 m in diameter, lying
apart) were recorded in Zone 21, each defined exposed in Zone 23, close to Telegraph Hill, the further to the east in Zone 20. It had a central
by a single ring ditch. The western ring ditch, highest point on Thanet. The western of them inhumation grave containing the burial of a man
of which the northern two-thirds was exposed, was approximately 25 m in diameter, although aged 3545. Early Bronze Age ring ditches bottom left, centre and upper
right (Zone 23 view from south).
was 19 m in diameter, and contained four its southern third lay outside the excavation.
inhumation graves within its interior three No evidence for burials was found. The central
of them probably of women (aged 1619, monument, the northern half of which was
2025 and 4055 years, respectively) and
the fourth of an infant (aged 1012 months).

Principal grave in one of the barrows in Zone 21, containing a


unique Triple Food Vessel, amber button and bronze pin
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 5

Later Bronze Age to Early Iron Age farming and settlement (1500400 BC)
The excavations provided important evidence, In contrast to the extensive fields and
previously largely absent on Thanet, for the droveways, Late Bronze Age settlement
large-scale organisation and permanent evidence was generally ephemeral, and
settlement of the landscape during the later typically inferred from domestic debris in pits
Bronze Age, and a corresponding decrease and ditches. Apart from a rectangular post-
in its funerary character. These processes built structure in Zone 4, few clear houses
accelerated during the Early Iron Age. were identified among the small numbers of
postholes recorded. Nonetheless, it is clear that
There was only limited evidence for Middle settlements stood in all areas of the landscape,
Bronze Age field systems, but an extensive either unenclosed or within small compounds
Late Bronze Age coaxial field system defined among the field systems. An exception was a
by similarly aligned ditches was found on the more substantial enclosure partly revealed in
south-facing slopes of Cottington Hill and Zone 19 on the chalk ridge, defined by sections
on the Ebbsfleet peninsula (in Zones 6 and of ditch of varying length but all approximately
7), and at Sevenscore and Cliffs End. The a metre deep.
absence of comparable features along the
chalk ridge suggests that the higher ground A further indication of settled occupation of the
may still have been used as open pasture. landscape was the small cremation cemetery
Associated trackways and gaps in some of the in Zone 4, located close to a 5 m-diameter
field boundaries probably facilitated the control ring ditch (of probable Late Neolithic or
and movement of livestock, as may a number Early Bronze Age date) and to the south of
of small enclosures which produced no clear contemporary settlement remains which
evidence for settlement. Animal husbandry is included enclosure and droveway ditches.
also indicated by the recovery of increasing Eleven features contained sufficient cremated
quantities of cattle and sheep/goat bone, bone to be considered unurned burials, of
mainly from Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age individuals ranging from infant to adults, or pyre
features. debris. Other more isolated graves of this date,
containing both cremation and inhumation
In addition, the presence of charred plant burials, were found at other locations along
remains, including emmer wheat and barley, the route.
indicate cereal cultivation, presumably on
the drier more elevated areas of the landscape.
Despite its location, there was little evidence
in this period for the exploitation of marine
resources.

Left: Middle Bronze Age pottery, including a cremation urn


(no. 10), found inverted in the grave (Zone 6)

Right: Heavily worn Late Bronze Age trackway in Zone 6,


apparently leading down to the Wantsum Channel (view from
south-west)
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 6

Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age metalwork hoards


A small hoard of bronze objects and another
1
nearby comprising a pair of penannular gold
bracelets were found in the subsoil (in Zone
4) on the Ebbsfleet peninsula. The bronze hoard
2 Isle of Thanet 9 contained 17 fragments of ingots and broken
3 10
m bronze objects (including at least one socketed
4
axe and a sword) and probably dates from the

5m
5 (x9)

Ebbsfleet Lane
6 later part of the Ewart Park metalworking stage
8
Wa n
tsum of the Bronze Age (c. 920800 BC). In addition,
Chann
el there was a spread of bronze fragments in the Pair of Late Bronze Age penannular gold bracelets
7 same area possibly deriving from a further,
0 5 km II dispersed hoard. These finds are amongst a cluster of at least
seven hoards now known from this part of the
Such collections of broken material (often Ebbsfleet peninsula, nearly all of which lie in a
referred to as Carps Tongue hoards based low-lying and seasonally flooded area, to the
9m
on the shape of the swords) have frequently south of the low hill at Ebbsfleet Farm where

)
ad
been interpreted as founders hoards, the largest hoard of at least 181 pieces was

Ro
Ebbsfleet Farm
VIII
comprising scrap metal buried for safe keeping found in 1892, and within 100 m of the sea.

ate
I

sg
VII
by metalworkers, and therefore not principally It is possible that they derive from shipments

am
III IV VI

h/R
V
votive in character. However, there is no clear of material imported from France. As one of

wic
evidence for contemporary metalworking in the landfalls for the shortest crossings from

nd
Fo
rm

(Sa
er the area. Moreover, the two gold bracelets, the Continent, the peninsula may have had

26
sh
ore
complete and undamaged, can hardly be a special role in this trade and also a ritual

A5
Weatherlees Hill
lin

considered as scrap, yet they were deposited significance. Wet or watery locations were often
e

8m
in the same way and in the same area as the chosen for the deposition of metalwork hoards.
bronzes, in shallow pits or perhaps in bags
placed on the surface and covered with soil. Although this localised concentration of hoards
5m

is remarkable, several other Late Bronze Age/


Left: Distribution of Late Bronze Age hoards and probable
R. S
tour Early Iron Age hoards are known both on the
former shoreline in the Ebbsfleet peninsula (Hoards 1VIII)
and (Inset:) Thanet and along the Wantsum Channel: Isle of Thanet, and on the mainland on the

r
ou
0 500 m
St
1. Minnis Bay, Birchington; 2. Shuart, St Nicholas-at-Wade; western shore of the Wantsum Channel, as
3. Monkton Court Farm, Minster; 4. Abbey Farm, Minster; well as more widely on either side of the
R.

5. The Ebbsfleet hoards; 6. Cottington; 7. Hoaden, Elmstone;


8. Stourmouth; 9. Ellington School, Ramsgate
Thames Estuary.

Objects from the Late Bronze Age hoard in Zone 4


Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 7

Early to Middle Iron Age trapezoidal enclosure (700100 BC)


In addition to the horse, there were other
distinctive elements in the animal bone
assemblages such as the relatively high
proportion of older cattle bones, a number of
domestic fowl and the presence of donkey
both early occurrences of these animals, and a
small quantity of fish bones. The assemblage
may indicate a range of activities, such as
undertaken later in the Iron Age at sanctuaries
and temples. Alternatively, the enclosure could
be seen as part of a high-status settlement
with a religious element marked by distinctive
Open Day on Zone 13, with EarlyMiddle Iron Age sunken-
architecture and the strict control of space. featured building in foreground (view from east)

EarlyMiddle Iron Age trapezoidal enclosure and surrounding pit complexes in Zone 13, overlaying Early Bronze Age ring ditch
(view from south)

The most significant EarlyMiddle Iron Age views on a clear day to the coast of France. The
site was on a promontory of high ground at building was filled with dumped layers
Cliffs End (in Zone 13), overlooking Pegwell containing apparently domestic refuse, Pits
Bay. It included a large trapezoidal enclosure, including pottery of mainly EarlyMiddle Iron
over 80 m long and 3250 m wide, with broad Age date, animal bone, shell and fired clay, as Fence
Sunken-featured
deep ditches and an entrance in its narrower well as single objects of iron and stone. There building
eastern end. It was built partly over a Bronze was also a redeposited Early Bronze Age skull Ramp down
Age ring ditch (and earlier possible hengiform probably derived from the round barrow, but Horse burial
monument), but there were no indications that which may not have simply represented a
there had been any barrow mound surviving chance discovery in a later period. It may, for
at the time of its construction this may have example, have had a symbolic or ritual function.
been deliberately levelled at the time. Granary
There were also a small number of pits
There was a large sunken-featured building, inside the enclosure as well as two groups of Fence?
approximately 6.5 m square, in the north- postholes, one of which includes a probably
western corner of the enclosure. It was up to square four-post structure, a form often Pits
0.8 m deep with a flat base and vertical sides, associated with grain storage. There were
and had a ramp, flanked by postholes, leading further post-built structures in the area
down into it on the south-western side; there surrounding the enclosure, as well as probable Entrance
were further postholes at two of its corners. grain storage pits, complexes of quarries and
Prehistoric examples of sunken-featured numerous other pits, again all used ultimately
buildings are rare and appear to be unique to for the disposal of domestic rubbish. Several of
Thanet, but nothing quite like this one has been the pits also contained burials, including that of
Pits Enclo
found so far on the island. a horse, a rare and very likely significant deposit sure
ditch
at this early date.
It is unclear whether the purpose and
significance of the building (and the enclosure) Early to Middle Iron Age feature
was related in any way to the earlier monument 0 20m
perhaps it was simply the location, with Right: Plan of trapezoidal enclosure
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 8

Early to Late Iron Age settlements and finds


The Iron Age was the most extensively individuals place of origin from examining
represented period on the scheme, and the the chemical signature of their teeth). Earlier
vestiges of settlement, enclosures, field isotope analysis of a very unusual later Bronze
systems and trackways were widespread AgeIron Age group found at nearby Cliffs End
throughout the landscape. Farm indicates the presence here of individuals
possibly from Scandinavia and Iberia.
The division and use of the landscape
intensified at this time, with more permanent A variety of finds came from the various Iron
settlements established. The unusual, possibly Age settlements, but especially those in Zone
unique EarlyMiddle Iron Age trapezoidal 6 and Zone 13. The 2nd1st-century BC potin
enclosure and associated sunken-featured coins have added considerably to previous
building in Zone 13 near to Cliffs End have coin finds from the area, whilst the metalwork
been described above. Elsewhere, one large assemblage provides a large group from this
and long-lived settlement at the neck of period. The latter includes agricultural and
the Ebbsfleet peninsula (in Zone 6) had its other tools, household fittings and equipment,
origins in the Late Bronze Age and continued and rarer objects such as the iron armlet from A skull with an unhealed, depressed fracture,
through to the late Roman period. Although the one of the burials in Zone 12. from a pit in Zone 6
complete plan was not exposed its limits were
established on three sides. The prehistoric pottery includes important
assemblages of EarlyMiddle Iron Age
The Zone 6 settlement, besides a complex of ceramics, with some notably high quality
trackways and enclosures, numerous pits, wells vessels from pits associated with the
and burials, included a relatively large number trapezoidal enclosure in Zone 12. Triangular
of roundhouses rarely found in Thanet and, fired clay bricks, other kiln furniture and
later, several Romano-British sunken-featured briquetage demonstrate small-scale salt
buildings. At least eight examples of Iron Age production, whilst the worked stone includes
roundhouses were recorded, represented by several saddle querns, some providing evidence
ring gullies of between 5 m and 13 m internal for prehistoric exploitation of the Folkestone
diameter, which suggests they had a variety of Beds Greensand.
uses other than just as domestic houses.

Further to the north in Zone 12 a northsouth


aligned trackway was bounded on either side by
a sequence of mainly agricultural enclosures, Iron Age gold stater of Cunobelin
probably for animals, and a few post-built
structures. Of particular interest was a small
group of 13 inhumation burials adjacent to the
trackway, several of which were not of local
origin, based on the results of isotope analysis
(a scientific technique which can identify an

Left: Plan of Late Iron Age


and early Roman features
in Zone 6

Right: Roundhouse
reconstruction
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 9

Julius Caesar (5554 BC)


Part of a large ditched enclosure, discovered on or even ceased at this time, and although
the Ebbsfleet peninsula (in Zones 4 and 6) at items of probable Late Iron Age weaponry,
the eastern end of the Wantsum Channel, has including spears, were found these may be
been interpreted as possibly associated with Gaulish rather than British. Items of possible
Julius Caesars military campaigns to Britain Roman Republican weaponry, in the form of two
in 55 and 54 BC, making it perhaps the most projectile heads, were also recovered.
significant discovery of the whole project.
Despite his descriptions in the Bello Gallico

5m
A number of lengths of a substantial ditch, (his Commentaries on the Gallic War), the 10m
recorded on different orientations at locations precise sites in East Kent where Caesars fleet

5m
Zone 7
at least 600 m apart, may define the north and landed remain unknown. It is possible that
south sides of a large but short-lived defensive this defensive earthwork provided a suitably
enclosure. On average the ditch was 56 m defensible land base from which the ships 2015 geophysical
survey
wide and approximately 2 m deep, with sides could also be protected in his second
angled at 45 and a flat base, though there incursion in 54 BC. 2005 pipeline
were no surviving remains of an associated Zone 6 (Ebbsfleet Lane)
rampart. The defences appear to have been completely
infilled, and the enclosure gone out of use
Radiocarbon dating suggests that the ditch before the Claudian invasion of 43 AD, although
was probably constructed in the 1st century they were subsequently recut by a substantial 9m
BC, but it has no ready parallels among British V-shaped ditch of early Roman date, perhaps Projected line Ebbsfleet
of defences Hill
Iron Age sites. It does have parallels, however, associated with this later invasion when nearby
with the Roman outer siege defences built by Richborough is thought to have been the focus
Julius Caesar in 52 BC at Alsia in Gaul (modern of early operations. Only further work will reveal
France), and other contemporary Roman more about the early enclosure and determine Zone 4 and
examples. At the same time, it appears from the whether it was built as part of Caesars British 2005 Ebbsfleet Compound
stratigraphic, ceramic and coin evidence that expeditions (see page 20).
Weatherlees Pond
Iron Age activity on the peninsula decreased

Su
gg
est
ed
for
5 m

me
r
8m

sho
rel
ine
0 500 m

Left: Overview of Iron AgeRomano-British settlement in Zone Above: The 1st-century BC enclosure on the Ebbsfleet
6, with Zones 15 on the Ebbsfleet peninsula beyond; River peninsula, shown in relation to probable former shoreline
Stour, Deal Spit, Pegwell Bay and the Channel top left. The
extent of green vegetation corresponds approximately with Inset: The substantial ditch and subsequent Roman recut,
former areas of open water or marsh, with the cooling towers exposed in Zone 6 (view from west)
next to the mouth of the Wantsum Channel; the circuit of the
1st century BC enclosure is indicated by a dashed line
(view from north-west)
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 10

Romano-British settlement on the Ebbsfleet peninsula


The large defensive ditch of Late Iron Age date, Iron Age rural settlement at this location and occupation in the immediate post-Conquest
potentially associated with Caesars expeditions its development into and through the Romano- period. Some of the roundhouses produced
to Britain in 55 and 54 BC, silted up and British period. This nucleated settlement pottery datable only as Late Iron Age/early
was backfilled quite soon after construction. comprised a series of domestic structures, Romano-British, and these structures could
However, it was subsequently recut on the mostly located within enclosures of irregular therefore all be pre-Conquest. The only Graves
same line but in a noticeably different form, plan and defined by ditches of varying size, identifiable Romano-British buildings were
now having a steep V-shaped profile, in places based around several trackways. Some of the two sunken-features buildings, and neither of E
almost 3 m deep. Its lowest fill contained enclosures containing no structural evidence them is securely dated to the early Romano-
early Romano-British pottery, and the dating may have been yards or paddocks or had British period; rather they appear to be of Graves
evidence from this feature is consistent with some other agricultural use. There were also a middlelate Romano-British date, constructed
a mid-1st-century AD date. It is an intriguing number of four-post structures, approximately in the late 2nd century or after. However, they
possibility, yet to be certainly established, 3 m square in plan, traditionally interpreted as represent a significant change in the nature of E
that the recut may have been associated with granaries. At the height of its occupation the domestic architecture, a change reflected in
military events at the time of the successful settlement may have extended 400 m north earlier excavations nearby which revealed at
Claudian invasion in AD 43. south, with the Wantsum Channel 200 m to the least two rectangular buildings with flint cobble E
SFB
east and Pegwell Bay to the west. foundations.
The largest and longest-lived of the Romano-
British settlements identified lay at the neck However, the chronology of the settlement
Right: Overall plan of the Late Iron Age and Roman features
of the Ebbsfleet peninsula (in Zone 6), and in the early Romano-British period is unclear in Zone 6
appears to represent a continuation of the Late and it is possible that there was a hiatus in E E

E
E

E
E

Grave

Settlement
boundary ditch

Late Iron Age to early Roman feature


Early Roman feature
Trackway/droveway
General view of Iron AgeRomano-British settlement in Zone
E Enclosure
6 during excavation, with ditches and pits showing as darker 0 50 m
areas (view from south)
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 11

Later Romano-British settlement on the chalk ridge


Plan and section of the largest of the Another focus of Roman settlement, with a The smallest measured 4 m by 2 m, while the
sunken-featured buildings in Zone 20 concentration of evidence in the middlelate largest (in Zone 20) measured 11 m by 6 m.
Steps down
Roman period, was located on the chalk ridge. Most were under 0.9 m deep, but one (also in
205150 The settlement, perhaps spanning much of the Zone 20) was over 1.3 m deep; the presence
3rd and 4th centuries, lay on either side of a in it of steps, internal postholes and an oven
metalled trackway aligned broadly WNWESE, leave little doubt about its interpretation as a
in the gravel surface of which were well-defined domestic building, while most of the others also
wheel ruts approximately 1.2 m apart. The contained hearths or ovens.
trackway was flanked on its northern side by
Sec
Post-holes for 171241 a number of rectangular ditched plots. The Although their origins are unclear, with the
tion
171 roof supports
207 ditches contained a variety of material typical of earliest of Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age
205161
171217 171207 domestic refuse. date, sunken-featured buildings seem to
171243
have been relatively common on Thanet, their
171219
A small cemetery, containing three inhumation construction in various forms continuing into
and three cremation graves, lay within the the medieval period. A particularly interesting
plot immediately east of the settlement. All six later Roman group has previously been found
burials, ranging from infants to adults, male and at Monkton, a little further to the west along the
171239 female, were accompanied by pottery vessels chalk ridge, and the Roman examples at least
Oven which date the cemetery to the middle Roman are almost exclusively restricted to the island,
0 5m
period. Further individual burials were recorded probably representing a local building tradition.
close to the corners of other plots. They appear to have been the principal
structure types used in lower status rural
The part of the settlement uncovered consisted settlements, both for domestic buildings and
of five sunken-featured buildings, four of them for structures with potentially more specialised
Section 171207
E W
47.92 m OD
close together and the fifth a short distance to craft functions, with one in Zone 20 apparently
171216 the west. Sunken-featured buildings were the associated with iron smithing.
171215 171209
171208 171222 most commonly represented type of Romano-
171225
171210 171223 171224
British building found on the project, with up
171202
171211 171221 171230
to 18 examples recorded across the different
171212
171214 171226 205161 landscapes along the route. They varied in size Below: Plan of cremation grave in Zone 20, showing
and form, with shapes ranging from rectangular associated pots, one a samian cup with a potters stamp
171219 171219 (Doccius, 160200 AD) and scratched graffito (BLATCVS,
0 2m to oval, so that some of the less regular-shaped probably a name). Pot 4031 is a rare Central Gaulish black
were hard to distinguish from large shallow pits. samian beaker

896

215193

4030
4031 4030 4029
4031
4030
Pottery
0 200 mm
0 500 mm
896
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 12

Romano-British cemeteries

Late Iron Ageearly Roman double burial in Zone 4 Burial accompanied by three bronze bangles in Zone 19

All or parts of five small cemeteries, together buried but others appearing to have been less The cemetery in Zone 10 was clearly bounded cremation deposit covered by large parts of an
containing 33 cremation burials and 38 ceremoniously disposed of in ditches, pits and by broadly contemporary ditches, enclosing amphora. The other was the only example of
inhumations, were examined. Four of them were abandoned sunken-featured buildings, and in an area 18 m eastwest by 8 m northsouth. decapitation of an adult possible female, with
on the chalk ridge (three in Zone 19 and one many cases the remains were fragmentary. Most of its eight inhumation graves were the skull placed between the outstretched legs.
in Zone 20), and one on lower lying ground to aligned northsouth, and the cremation
the north of Cottington Hill (in Zone 10). Other, None of the cemeteries on the chalk ridge was graves were concentrated in the western
smaller groups and a few isolated burials were formally enclosed, although they may have part of the cemetery. The burials comprised
also found. been located in relation to existing boundaries, both sexes and a range of ages neonates,
in particular several trackways which followed juveniles, subadults and adults. The cremation
The western cemetery in Zone 19 contained or branched off from the spine of higher burials were all urned, and all but two of the
only inhumation graves, and could be of ground. In the main cemetery in Zone 19 all inhumations, four of which were in coffins, were
entirely pre-Roman Iron Age date the few the earliest graves (some dating to the first half accompanied by grave goods including pottery
finds indicate burial early in the 1st century of the 1st century AD) contained cremation vessels, a necklace of glass and jet beads and
AD. The others were mixed rite, with most of burials, perhaps indicating a particular burial a coin. Apart from pottery, the range of grave
the Romano-British burials being of early and tradition which appears to have continued goods in this and the other cemeteries was
middle Roman date, and only few dating to later into the 2nd3rd century. Most of the graves relatively limited.
in the period. Other small groups of burials also contained one or more pots that would
were encountered elsewhere, totalling a further originally have held food or drink for the recently Also in the cemetery in Zone 10 were two
six cremation burials and 34 inhumations. deceased, along with personal items such as unusual burials. One grave contained a prone Pottery vessels in an early Roman cremation grave in Zone 11
The treatment of neonates varied, with some brooches. burial of a young adult woman buried face
of these newly-born individuals being formally down with, at her feet, an apparently token
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 13

Romano-British finds
Pottery, as is normal, was the most commonly Stone was mostly used for rotary querns to
occurring Roman find, the earlier material up grind cereals, these comprising a variety
to c. AD 70 characterised by Belgic wares of materials including Folkestone Beds
and continuity from the Late Iron Age rather Greensand, Hertfordshire Puddingstone,
than change, with most vessels wheel-made (or Millstone Grit and volcanic lava from the Eifel
finished). Also present were imitation Gallo- Mountains region of Germany.
Belgic forms reflecting increased cross-Channel
0 100 mm
contacts and early imports of wine amphorae Coins were mostly of small denomination,
from the Mediterranean region. Other, slightly probably lost in everyday use, with the largest
later imports included mortaria and flagons number 89 from the settlement in
from northern France, while various amphorae Zone 6. However, a small hoard of five silver
indicated the use of olive oil, fish-based denarii were found nearby on the edge of the
products and olives, as well as wine, during the settlement.
late 1st and early/mid-2nd century. There were Quernstones and an
few early examples of samian, with most of the A variety of metalwork was recovered, most of unusual decorated chalk
South Gaulish material dating to after the tools, structural and household items of possible pestle
c. AD 70. In the 2nd century much of the iron and most of the personal objects of copper
samian was from Lezoux, with other imports alloy. The few weapons included at least one
including Cologne colour-coated wares and arrowhead, while amongst the tools were a
Moselkeramic beakers. More local ceramic tanners two-handed draw knife, leatherworking
production is indicated by increasing quantities knives and an awl, and a woodworkers mortice
of sandy greyware from the Thameside industry chisel. There was surprisingly little ironworking
and nearby sources, and by the late 1st century slag but a billet of iron and a paring hammer
from the Canterbury kilns. provide evidence for smithing, perhaps used by
an itinerant blacksmith. There was also part of
The Romano-British pottery is notable for the a steelyard, possibly for weighing agricultural 0 250 mm
individual grave groups containing a variety produce. Agricultural tools included a reaping
of vessels, sometimes as containers for hook and a ploughshare, while a complete iron
the cremated bone, and also for the use of wheel rim a very unusual find is probably
birch bark tar for repair, a practice recorded from a cart. Structural and household items
elsewhere in Kent. included many nails and building fittings, keys
and chain links, with numerous knives that
There was comparatively little roofing tile, flue could be used for a multitude of purposes.
tile and brick, the evidence indicating that most
of the buildings were constructed of timber, Finally, personal items mainly dress 0 200 mm

wattle and daub with thatched roofs. Only a few accessories worn by women were common,
more substantial buildings are known locally, particularly in graves. These included brooches,
such as the villa at Minster, however small bracelets and armlets, finger-rings, hairpins,
amounts of brick and tile were used in hearths toilet items such as nail cleaners and ear
and ovens. scoops, and beads.

Amongst the less common objects were


fragments of two pipe-clay figurines, one
possibly of Venus, the other of Dea Nutrix
Above: Objects from grave in Zone 20, with Cologne colour-
(nursing goddess), which are likely to have been coated ware hunt cup and samian vessel stamped by Tituro
part of household shrines. Right: Complete iron rim from a Roman wheel (AD 170190)
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 14

Later Iron Age and Romano-British environment and economy


Domestic mammals, mainly cattle and sheep or a growth in the local population rather than
goat, dominated the animal bone assemblage. producing a surplus to trade over a wider area.
Other species included pig, horse, dog, cat and
domestic fowl. Hunting of wild game supplied There was a notable increase in charred plant
only a very small part of the diet and this might remains, with cereal-rich material occurring
have had more associations with status than throughout the later Iron AgeRoman period,
with food provisioning. Fallow deer remains reflecting increasing production of cereals in the
from the midlate Roman settlement on the area. Spelt wheat became the dominant cereal
chalk ridge confirms that this was not a later cultivated, although emmer was still present,
introduction to this country as previously this change probably resulting from new areas
thought, and its presence is likely to be related coming into cultivation, with spelt able to be
to the nearby Roman villa at Minster. grown on heavier soils. However, the continued
presence of scentless mayweed suggests
It is possible that the relative decrease in cattle that light soils were still being utilised. Other
in the early Roman period was not the result of crops such as six-row hulled barley, oats, peas,
more sheep or goat being raised, but the result beans and flax were also present but in smaller
of their sale to nearby Roman establishments quantities than spelt wheat.
such as Richborough. Surplus animals, possibly
mainly males, were killed in their first or second The charcoal remains, particularly from the later
year for meat, whereas the remainder of the Roman features, were dominated by blackthorn-
herds were kept for dairy production, wool type roundwood, including probable wild cherry,
and breeding, with evidence too for the raising along with other hedgerow and scrub species.
of pigs and horses. Cattle were also used as Oak and other wood species were relatively
draught animals. sparse and this may indicate that there was a
limited supply of these during this period.
Typically, outside of towns and villas it appears
that the Roman population ate little fish, and
despite the proximity of the sea this seems
to be the case with the settlements here. In
contrast shellfish, particularly oysters and
mussels, became more important, and oysters
from nearby Richborough were evidently of such
quality that they were imported into Italy in the
1st century AD. However, the lack of uniformity
in the shape and size of the oyster shells, and
the level of infestation, suggests they were
collected from the wild population rather than
farmed.

Salt production was evident from the presence Above: Middle Roman dish containing pig bone (upper
foreleg), from a grave in Zone 10
of briquetage, but this distinctive clay debris
from evaporating vessels and related boiling Top right: Iron Age (and later) trackway in Zone 6, the metalled
equipment was present in quantities that surface strewn with butchered animal bone (view from north-
west)
suggest only small-scale, cottage industry in the
Iron Age. There was an increase in production Bottom right: EarlyMiddle Iron Age horse burial in pit next to
in the Roman period, but this may simply reflect trapezoidal enclosure in Zone 13 (view from west)
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 15

Early to mid-Saxon settlement and cemeteries


The excavations have contributed substantially possibly associated with a separate settlement,
to our understanding of the earlier Anglo- or representing burial places which shifted over
Saxon period in Thanet. The principal remains time. The earliest Anglo-Saxon burials here
comprised several cemeteries together appear, mainly on the basis of grave goods,
probably spanning the mid-6thearly 8th to be dated to c. 550 AD, and the latest to
centuries, and associated earlymid-Saxon around 700. All the burials were made close
settlement remains, for which there was to trackways along the chalk ridge (in Zone 19
previously little evidence in Thanet, or indeed and the eastern part of Zone 20) and the sites
more widely in Kent. of the cemeteries would have been visible from
the settlements, a kilometre or so downslope,
Although the Ebbsfleet peninsula has as well as commanding extensive views over
traditionally been identified as the landing place the Wantsum Channel. Most graves contained
of Hengist and Horsa, the legendary leaders single burials, but there were two graves
of the first Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britain in containing two individuals side-by-side and
c. 449, the first tangible evidence for Saxon another grave with three. In addition, there were
settlement comprises a number of richly- a small number of graves with two, or in one
furnished graves in east Kent dating to the 6th case three burials on top of each other, these
century. multiple burials perhaps representing members
of the same family. Many burials had associated
A dispersed group of three sunken-featured grave goods, but a few apparent graves
buildings lay on the lower slopes of Cottington contained no human remains or finds, and while
Hill (in Zone 11), with parts of one or more it is possible that these may have been robbed
cemeteries close to a complex of trackways or revisited and the bone removed, it is perhaps
higher up and extending along the chalk ridge. more likely that some served as cenotaphs.
The buildings, with floors below ground level to
provide protection from the elements, would
have had thatched roofs and low walls of wattle
and daub. Although the buildings cannot be
closely dated, and may represent a succession
of structures, one contained sherds from a
decorated jar or bowl of 5th6th-century date,
while a nearby well produced pottery of late
6th7th-century date.

Another building, some 500 m to the south


(in Zone 10), is likely to have belonged to a
separate settlement. Among the finds were
sherds of Merovingian pottery imported from
France in the 7th8th century. The possible
chronological overlap between the two areas
provides rare evidence for settlement shift at
the end of the 7th century.

This settlement evidence is enhanced by Above: Triple burial in grave 136111 (Zone 19; view from east)
the presence of three probably broadly Right: Wheel ruts of an Anglo-Saxon trackway running along
contemporary inhumation cemeteries, each the chalk ridge in Zone 19 (view from east)
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 16

Early Saxon finds


Most of the Anglo-Saxon artefacts were containing three individuals buried side-by-side,
recovered from graves, which range in date one adult female and two younger individuals,
from the mid-6th century until the late 7th or and with one was a silver coin probably minted Copper alloy object with a cruciform
early 8th century, contributing further to the just before 700 AD. head perhaps used in weaving,
nationally important cemetery groups known from a grave in Zone 19
from east Kent. A relatively small range of finds Of uncertain function is a possibly unique
was recovered from settlement contexts. bronze object with a cruciform head and a long
tapering point, perhaps associated with textile
Most of the pottery was relatively locally production. The shape of the cross recalls
produced and can be hard to date closely. The that on the 19th-century monument on the Silver coin, known
commonest are organic-tempered wares, which Ebbsfleet peninsula near the supposed landing as a sceat, from
pre-dated Canterbury sandy ware introduced place of St Augustine and his Christian mission the triple burial in
Zone 19
from around 750. However, Thanets location in 597.
allowed for the easy import of pottery from
the Continent, the most significant being the Metal objects from non-mortuary contexts
high-quality wheel-thrown Merovingian vessels included, in addition to knives, a range of
from northern France. Such vessels, which are tools such as shear blades, awls, a socketed
useful for dating and include decorated jars point and a fire steel. There were also clappers
and tall bottles, were found both in graves and from sheep or cattle bells, a bucket handle,
domestic contexts. fragments of bindings, hinge plates, nails,
clench bolts and rivets. Amongst other finds
The commonest metal finds were knives were quantities of fired clay from hearth
ranging from small whittle tang knives used for structures and ovens, bone and antler combs
a variety of domestic purposes to larger seaxes, also found in graves and a bone pin beater for
single-edged weapons that were comparatively closing the gaps between fibres during weaving.
rare. The smaller knives were found in both
male and female graves, whereas weapons,
including a sword, seaxes, spearheads and
shield bosses, were present only in some male
graves. Other metalwork included dress fittings
such as strap ends and buckles, and jewellery
amongst which were brooches, finger-rings,
fragments of a neck ring and a silver scutiform
(shield-shaped) pendant. Beads of glass (both
single- and multi-coloured), amber, amethyst,
stone and bone were common, particularly in
the earlier graves, with one necklace made
up of almost 200 beads, the majority amber.
Other personal items included bronze tweezers,
parts of chatelaines and girdle hangers worn
at the waist, bundles of keys and a work box.
These unusual, cylindrical, decorated bronze
boxes, with a chain for attachment to a belt,
are sometimes found to contain pins and North French
Above: Bead group including a necklace in a grave in Zone 20
fragments of textile, but may have held relics or (Pas-de-Calais)
mementoes. The workbox came from the grave biconical jar
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 17

A Mid-Saxon settlement and cemetery at Cliffs End


A small Mid-Saxon inhumation cemetery of late wheel-thrown pottery manufactured in East
7th8th-century date was uncovered on high Anglia c. 720850, representing one of the
ground to the north of Cliffs End (in Zone 14). largest assemblages known from Kent. Metal
Although no trace of a burial enclosure was objects included knives, a spindlewhorl and a
found, the 24 eastwest graves were arranged loomweight reflect spinning and weaving, and
close together in several rows suggesting a bone comb was also found. Fragments of
that the whole of the cemetery had been lava come from imported quernstones, and
revealed. In all but one of the graves (which the charred remains of barley reflect one of the
was empty) the burials were extended and cereal crops grown locally, in this case possibly
supine, with the heads to the west. Only one for brewing ale.
grave, of an individual aged over 18, contained
an identifiable grave good an iron knife Almost all the animal bone was cattle, sheep/
although another grave contained 10 nails. goat and pig, with wild species virtually absent.
Together, the layout, lack of grave goods and However, many of the pits also contained
date indicate that this was a Christian field substantial deposits of marine shell (oyster,
cemetery, the absence of a church quite normal whelk, spindle, limpet, mussel and periwinkle),
for this period. much probably harvested from around Pegwell
Bay, though some may have come from deeper
Around the cemetery was an area of Anglo- waters. Several hones for sharpening knives
Saxon settlement of broadly 8th-century date, were found, perhaps for knives used to open
possibly extending into the 9th. It consisted the shells, and there were a number of stone-
Ipswich ware spouted pitcher
mainly of a concentration of pits, and although lined hearths nearby which may have been
the remains of buildings, perhaps of posthole constructed to cook the shellfish to preserve it. 0 100 mm
or beamslot construction, were not identified, Similar shellfish deposits were found earlier at
a few shallow postholes were recorded. By this Cliffs End Farm nearby, in a series of pits which
time sunken-featured buildings had more-or- may have defined property boundaries. The
less disappeared and most buildings were scale and extent of the debris suggests that the
rectangular in plan with floors at ground level. shellfish were intended for redistribution, rather
than for on-site consumption.
The pits produced small quantities of domestic
finds, but particularly notable was the presence This trade may have been conducted under the
and quantity of Ipswich ware, a distinctive aegis of the nearby abbey at Minster-in-Thanet.
This important monastery was founded in 670
by Aefa, grand-daughter of Aethelbert, the first
Christian ruler of Kent. It was probably originally
sited on the rising ground to the north, close
to the chalk ridge, but in the 8th century was
moved closer to the Wantsum Channel where it
was well-placed to exploit coastal and cross-
Channel maritime trade.

Left: One of many pits in Zone 14 containing marine shell


deposits, here mainly oyster (view from south-east)

Right: Two graves under excavation in the Zone 14 cemetery


(view from east)
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 18

Medieval to modern and World War II


Identifiable medieval activity was found In the post-medieval period most of the area
almost solely on the Ebbsfleet peninsula. covered by the route of the new road was given Margate North
Foreland
Here (in Zones 13) two broadly contemporary over to arable agriculture, and archaeological
farmsteads were established quite close remains were very sparse, comprising several
together, their main phase of development chalk quarries and an associated trackway (in Isle of Thanet
spanning the 11th14th centuries. Most of Zone 17) possibly providing material for marling

Riv e r S
Thanet Earth Broadstairs
the features were ditches, forming a series fields to improve their fertility. Thin spreads A253 (19945)

to
of fields and enclosures, with more than of finds, such as coins, clay tobacco pipe and

ur
Sarre
Dunstre
one phase represented at the southern pottery, can be largely attributed to casual terb
ury ay
Minster te
Ramsgate
Ca
n ew
farmstead, but only a single main phase at the losses or the manuring of fields. Enclosure ditches Ca
us
1 EF
Pegwell Bay
northern. The fields were probably associated Wants
WH 2
um C
with animal husbandry, with a few pits, and Modern remains were also very sparse. The hann
el
postholes probably defining fence lines or other footings of a small building, in Zone 23 to
insubstantial structures. Medieval settlements the north of Minster, were the remains of an R
3 SB DS
on Thanet were generally small and dispersed. isolation ward of a hospital which occupied the Stonar
former Isle Of Thanet Workhouse, built in 1836 Sandwich
This phase of settlement was broadly to house up to 400 inmates. The hospital was
0 5 km Lydden
contemporary with land reclamation within finally demolished in 1989. Valley
the rapidly silting Wantsum Channel, which by
the end of this period is likely to have largely The other main remains comprised a network of Trackway
Medieval bank
comprised salt marsh. The first extensive World War II zig-zag trenches, dug for defence
1 Abbots Wall
reclamation works were undertaken under around the southern perimeter of Manston 2 Boarded Groin
the control of the Abbeys of St Augustine and Airfield (in Zones 1820). This was an important Farmhouse
3 Monks Wall
probably here
Christ Church, Canterbury in the 12th and 13th front-line fighter base, being located close to DS Deal Spit
centuries, who built the nearby earthen banks the Thames which provided the main route of Zone 3 SB Stonar Bank
EF Ebbsfleet Farm
which survive as the Monks Wall, Abbotts Wall enemy attack on London. Slight remains of
R Richborough
and the Boarded Groin. Today all that is left trenches were also recorded further south (in WH Weatherlees Hill
of the formerly open water in the channel is Zone 5), associated with a probable searchlight
the River Stour which flows south through the position forming part of Thanets coastal
Minster marshes. defences.

Early Bronze Age barrow


mound possibly still surviving
World War II zig-zag trench defences for RAF Manston
(modern runway beyond), cutting across parallel periglacial
stripes geological features formed during the last Ice Age
(Zone 19; view from south)

Ebbsfleet
peninsula
Medieval feature

0 50 m
Enclosure
ditches

Above: Plan of the northernmost of the two medieval Inset map: Selected medieval settlement remains on Thanet,
farmsteads in Zone 3. shown in relation to probable trackways and reclamation
banks within the Wantsum Channel
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 19

Opening the road, publication of the results and archive


The final piece of archaeological fieldwork was project and preparing these for dissemination to understand the results of their work as it This represents the single largest publication
completed in Spring 2011 and the road was and publication. Some results had already progressed, and ensured that appropriate on the archaeology of Thanet, and adds to
officially opened, on schedule, approximately been highlighted during the open days and decisions were made during the fieldwork. earlier work undertaken by the Trust for Thanet
a year later in 2012. Today, vehicles travel other public events, as well as at talks given Archaeology and the Canterbury Archaeological
smoothly along the few kilometres of the new to various local groups and societies between Following assessment, staff and specialists in Trust.
dual-carriageway, beneath the railway at Cliffs 2010 and 2015. Furthermore, the project Oxford and Salisbury began detailed analysis
End and over it at Sevenscore, with much easier had been given national publicity through two of what had been found in the various zones But what of all the paperwork, electronic data
access now to the port of Ramsgate to the east programmes in the BBC 2 Digging for Britain and the periods represented, and putting and finds that have been amassed during the
and Sandwich, Deal and Dover to the south. series and articles in various archaeological this together to understand the development course of the project? These will be made
Drivers are probably unaware that either side of magazines. of the landscape of south Thanet from early available for future research, but there are
the road lies a remarkably rich archaeological prehistoric times to World War II. By 2015 currently limited opportunities in Kent for
landscape, with a greater density of remains Initially an assessment report was compiled, analysis had been completed, some of the display of any of the material. Instead, along
than most other parts of the country and hardly reviewing the relative significance of all of the highlights of which are summarised above, and with the remainder of the archive, this has been
a blank area along the 6.5-km route. 30,000 individual contexts recorded, the huge two substantial volumes amounting to over prepared for long-term storage, returning it from
number and range of finds and the vast quantity 1000 pages published one volume covering Oxford and Salisbury to the county where it was
However, the archaeological project did not of environmental samples. This was aided the prehistoric, Romano-British, Anglo-Saxon, found.
finish with the opening of the new road. The by the use of a bespoke and sophisticated medieval and later remains, and the other the
Oxford Wessex Archaeology team then had the site-based Geographic Information System various finds and environmental assemblages.
substantial task of analysing the results of the (GIS), which had enabled the archaeologists Below: Some of the hundreds of boxes of finds

Aerial photograph showing Ebbsfleet


peninsula in the foreground (Zones
18; chalk being laid for road
construction), with chalk ridge upper
left and Cliffs End spur and Pegwell
Bay upper right (view from south)
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 20

In the Footsteps of Caesar?

Local volunteers and Kent County Council staff at the geophysics survey 2015 Getting to the bottom of it! The 1st-century defensive ditch in 2016

By the time the results of the East Kent Access The Battle for Gaul. Partly because of this it whose results are shown on page 9. This the book, about the location of the western
2 road project were published in 2015, just had often been assumed that his invasions of work has built on the community archaeology side of the defensive enclosure, was wrong!
three years after the new road was opened, Britain had left few archaeological traces. But undertaken during the road scheme and New excavations have subsequently taken
plans were already underway to follow up the discoveries on the new road suggested much of the fieldwork for the research has place at an entrance on the west side of the
on what may be the most important single otherwise. been supported by volunteers. The work of enclosure that was identical by the geophysical
discovery in the project. the volunteers has been co-ordinated by survey. As the entrance would have been a busy
It was clear that more work was needed so Kent County Council and people have come thoroughfare it is the place where objects are
In the book about the project it was suggested a research project was set up at Leicester from across Kent to take part. The Oxford most likely to have been dropped.
that the large 1st century BC site in Zone 6 University (www2.le.ac.uk/departments/ Wessex Archaeology joint venture has also
might be one of Julius Caesars camps dating to archaeology/research/projects/footsteps-of- been helping, allowing further studies to be Work is still in progress but the recent discovery
55 or 54 BC. This interpretation faced a number caesar). undertaken of the discoveries they made when of a Roman weapon in the defensive ditch has
of problems. The first was there was not enough the road was built. increased the odds on the site in Zone 6 being
evidence from the 2010 excavations to prove Funded by The Leverhulme Trust, the project one of the bases of Julius Caesar.
or disprove this idea. The second, and is looking at all the possible evidence for the The work of the volunteers has included
perhaps bigger, problem was that almost all invasions across south-east England but it geophysical surveys around Ebbsfleet. And
we know about the invasions comes from the has also carried out new fieldwork in Zone 6 one of the results of the first survey was to
account that Julius Caesar wrote in his book (Ebbsfleet), including a geophysical survey show that one of the theories put forward in
Digging at the Gateway from prehistory to Caesar and beyond 21

Acknowledgements
The publication was generously funded by Kent County Council and Volkerfitzpatrick Hochtief. We
are grateful to Kent County Council Heritage Conservation, Atkins and Jacobs for assistance during
the project. We are also grateful to Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick and the Footsteps of Caesar Project team
for information. The text was written by Phil Andrews and Andrew Powell, and edited by Philippa
Bradley. Illustrations are by Hannah Kennedy (plans and sections), and Elizabeth James and Sophie
Lamb (finds); finds photographs are by Magdalena Wachnik and Karen Nichols. The site plans and
sections have been adapted for this publication by Will Foster, who also typeset and designed this
report.

The full results of the excavations are published in Digging at the Gateway: Archaeological
landscapes of south Thanet. The Archaeology of East Kent Access (Phase II) Volume 1: The Sites
and Volume 2: The Finds, Environmental and Dating Reports (Phil Andrews, Paul Booth,
A P Fitzpatrick and Ken Welsh 2015 OWA Monograph No. 8).

Picture credits
Aerial photographs are reproduced courtesy of Volkerfitzpatrick Hochtief; photographs on page
20 are copyright Andrew Fitzpatrick; Iron Age roundhouse image on page 8 David Peter Robinson/
Shutterstock.com; all other images are copyright Oxford Wessex Archaeology.