Lees Court Project
A partnership project between the Society, the Lees Court Estate Trust and the School of Classical and Archaeological Studies at the University of Kent to investigate the history, buildings, place names and archaeology of the Lees Court Estate.
This is an update on the first few days on site and the preparation for the next few weeks excavation.
During August all our equipment, containers, marquees, offices and toilets have been moved to Wood’s Court Field. They have all had a good clean and are now ready for you.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have very much been taken up by getting the three trenches (T 2, T 3 and T 4) ready for excavation.
Days 4 & 5 were spent finishing off the initial excavations at Stringmans Field while investigating potential areas for further excavation next year. Once again, volunteers from several archaeological groups worked tirelessly, excavating, cleaning, photographing and planning aspects of the Prehistoric monument.
Stringmans Field Excavation - Background
Following on from Fred Birkbeck's fantastic work at Badlesmere Bottom (top work Fred), attention has now turned to Woodcourt Field (with Keith Parfitt) and Stringmans Field (with Richard Taylor). Keith will blog separately about the wonders of Woodcourt Field, so for now, here is an update regarding the current goings-on at Stringmans Field.
Firstly, thank you to everyone who has been following the posts on here, it is the first time the Society website has been used for these kind of updates. We would welcome any feedback, good or bad, just go to the contact section of the website and send a web form https://kentarchaeology.org.uk/about-us/contact-us. Remember to put the title 'Badlesmere Bottom' to be sure it will go to the correct person. Your feedback will be anonymised once it has been received and before it is sent on.
Penultimate day of the Badlesmere Bottom dig and all features are getting tidied, drawn and recorded. Some sterling work on the sections in trench 3 have revealed some interesting stratigraphy and some phasing of activity.
Today saw volunteers saying a fond(ish!) farewell to trench 3. The trench is best described as "complex" (first rule of archaeology - "messy" is not an adjective one uses to describe someone else's trench! One volunteer did and I think they just about got away with it!). We have large deposits of chalk, ditches lined with flint, pits cut into them, several re-cuts of the same ditch and flint ditch boundaries. How it comes together, as always, will be clearer when it is recorded, which is tomorrow's task.
What a difference day makes - 24 little hours later and we start the day with rain showers. Plenty of volunteers today for training day on the Lees Court Estate. We had volunteers and members from 5 different groups today including Maidstone and Lympne as well as Folkestone, Faversham and Shorne.
We were back on site today after our bank holiday break, replenished and ready to go.
Work continued on trench 2 with continuing excavation of both sides of the circular feature by slots through both. They continue to produce a fair amount of worked flint, although less in the lower fill, but no more dating as yet. We will be aiming to bottom out those slots and get some idea of the scale of the ring ditch (I think we can call it that now).
Phew, what a scorcher!
The last two days have certainly taken their toll on us at Badlesmere Bottom, the daily update machine has needed extra ventilation and is now back in operation with a double update.
We were joined by members of FSARG fresh from post-ex on their pub garden dig We have moved onto trench 2 to open up slots into the potential ditches running through them. We have been slightly depleted in numbers but not in work rate or enthusiasm, hence why I haven't had time to take any working shots other than the one of the gang having lunch!
Work continues on day 5 of our dig and what a fantastic amount of work KAS members are getting through. Lady Sondes was impressed and fascinated when she visited the site late in the afternoon.
Another blisteringly hot day on site with the crew uncovering more of the ring ditch running through trench 3. We have established both edges of the trench with an additional cut on what would be the inside. We managed to find the bottom of the main ditch which was cut into the underlying chalk. The feature itself was surprisingly shallow so maybe a ditch for a small family enclosure?
Members aplenty at the Badlesmere Bottom dig today, the word has escaped that we have some interesting archaeology to be investigated.
The increase in numbers meant that we could devote our attentions to trench 3 and leave trenches 1 and 2 for now. This trench was positioned along a group of three linear anomalies and the northern edge of a circular anomaly based on the results of the geophysical survey (see the annotated results below)
Day 3 on site and time to start digging in earnest (in very compact clay in actual fact!), The first 'slot' of the season was opened on a very innocuous looking linear in trench 1. The first couple of spades produced some Iron Age potter which puts a whole different perspective on the trench. Any thoughts of a quick clean-up, record and shut-down were quickly put to one side.
Much progress made by the KAS Project Team at Lees Court today.
The containers and office arrived on the Woods Court site newly stocked and refurbished (with some heavy duty security after last year's break-in). Members and council members alike were involved with the setting up of the marquee, organisation of the stock container and preparation of the administrative material, all ready for members to pop down and get cracking straight away.
Logistics day at Lees Court Estate for the first day of the Badlesmere Bottom excavations.
Members of the Folkstone Research and Archaeology Group, the Shorne Woods Archaeological Group and the Faversham Society Archaeological Research Group were out today helping Richard and I to set up for the two week 'warm up' dig in advance of Keith's hoard dig.
The first stage of the Lees Court Estate fieldwork project 2019 is getting underway from next Monday 19th of August.
Following geophysical surveys of the fields surrounding last year’s Woods Court site, some exciting potential archaeological targets have been identified.