Archaeological investigation at Kingsnorth, Kent

MOLA team
17.03.2011

From August 2010 to January 2011, Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) carried out work at Kingsnorth, Kent, in advance of a development by Goodman International Ltd. The proposed development includes a distribution warehouse, business park and associated infrastructure over approximately 150 hectares.

MOLA undertook an archaeological evaluation at Kingsnorth from August to November  2010. The evaluation found alluvial deposits, indicating a river channel running across the south of the site. In the centre of the site, it found archaeological features consisting of a pair of parallel ditches with associated pits. These contained pottery dating from the mid to late Bronze Age. To the north of  the site, another trench revealed a pair of ditches and pits dating to the Roman period.

 

At the start of November, the main contractor began a topsoil strip in several areas of the site as part of the ecological mitigation to the development. The strip was monitored by MOLA, and revealed further archaeological features. A subsequent archaeological excavation was undertaken to document these.

During the excavation of the central area of the site, the features which produced the Bronze Age pottery during the evaluation were observed to run c120m across the area, forming a Bronze Age track or drove way (a route for moving livestock) with several associated pits and post holes. Adjacent to the drove way were the remains of three post-built structures. There were post holes for two Iron Age ‘Round Houses’ with associated hearths and occupation layers, and post holes for a later Romano-British rectangular building with a hearth and a kiln. Scattered around these buildings were numerous rubbish pits containing industrial waste associated with metal-working and pottery dating to the Iron Age. In addition, several wells and field boundary ditches were recorded.

In the northern part of the site, the Roman features observed during the evaluation revealed that the area was situated on a rise in the natural river terrace gravels which had been surrounded on three sides by marshland. Sitting on top of this rise was a small Romano-British cemetery set within a square boundary ditch. The cemetery consisted of several cremations and a cluster of 26 east-west facing burials. Several of the burials were in re-cuts of the same grave, indicating possible family plots. Most of the burials were adults but three neonates were also recovered. Several burials contained collections of animal bone at the base of the grave, possibly indicating that food had been interred with them.

Northeast of the cemetery, archaeological features consisting of clay quarrying pits and multiple intercutting field systems were uncovered. All the features in this area produced a large amount assemblage of Roman pottery and tile.

MOLA completed work on site in January 2011

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