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Lees Court News

A partnership project between the Society, the Lees Court Estate 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.
  • Badlesmere Bottom 2019 - Day 10

    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.

    Phil watering section
    Just part of the story in trench 3
    Phil with trench 3
    Covering those sections for recording tomorrow

     

    In trench 2, one of the slots into the ring ditch has been finished and one more is just about there. [2004] is ready to be recorded and 2008] is close to the bottom. The edges are proving quite elusive and those pre-historic pot and flint flakes just keep on slowing us down! More recording in this trench tomorrow when everything is complete.

    Caroline in 2004
    "Just those last few crumbs!" [2004] is almost finished

    So, Friday is the penultimate day and the big recording day with plenty more training on filling out context sheets, drawing and photographing for anyone who wants to come along. 

    Hope it doesn't dry out too much overnight!

     

  • Badlesmere Bottom 2019 - Day 9

    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.

    Work continued on the mysterious prehistoric features in trench 3, there was some progress on the middle ditch which turns out to be much wider than we originally thought and we finished excavating and photographed a large chalk deposit for the record. We will close this trench down tomorrow and record it on Friday but we will have to return to this feature and plot other trenches around it at some point in the future to really understand the significance.

    We have made progress into the two ditches in trench 2 which form either side of our ring ditch. Still getting lots of worked flint out another piece of pot and will be able to finish excavating and record those on Thursday and Friday.

    Chalk north fac
    South-East facing section

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Training today was mostly centred around understanding the way features dictate our excavation strategy such as their shape, whether they are truncated and there is a need to find the relationship and how to excavate them faithfully. We also spent time with the volunteers talking about contexts, what they are and why they're important. We filled out some cut and fill record sheets and went through terminology that is used as well as how to fill them in with the post-ex in mind. There was also time to have an introduction to recording and surveying explaining the importance of the whole site plan.

    We are pretty sure it was helpful but, as usual, we had a good time anyway.

    Final push over the next three days should see us answering a few questions about the ditches surrounding the church area. We should be able to match up the ditches in newly opened trench 5 with those in trench 2.

    More info tomorrow

  • Badlesmere Bottom - Day 8

    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).

    We opened another slot further up the linear that runs alongside the ring ditch, tomorrow's job will be to investigate and record whatever we find there.

    Trench 5 location
    The yellow box shows the position of trench 5, on the north-south linear

    We were joined today by Gerald Cramp, the Society President and also by a couple of young enthusiasts who were instrumental in finding the points for the new trench.

    Gerald and Gordon working away under supervision
    Gerald and Gordon working away under supervision
    Isaac and Finlay gnss
    Our top survey team in action

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The team made some interesting new discoveries in trench 3, a large deposit of chalk that may have been quarried from a mysterious depression in the adjacent field. That also needs some investigation which has rather prevented us from opening up any more trenches for this year. There are still four days to go so watch this space or better still, get down to Lees Court Estate and join in the investigation. 

    A dedicated training day is planned for tomorrow when we will be recording the evaluation trenches and the excavations within them. Don't miss it if you want to learn some professional fieldwork skills.

    See you on site

     

     

     

  • Badlesmere Bottom 2019 - Days 6 and 7

    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!

    One of the slots has been written off as geological, with a band of slightly different coloured 'natural' running through at a weird angle. Two of the other three have produced a promising amount of flaked and worked flint, some fire-cracked flint and even some Iron Age pot (good spot Caroline) in the linear! The other ditch at the south end of the trench, over what we think is the circular feature, has provided a large amount of flint working debitage as well as a pot boiler so we are on course there.

    Hopefully we will have Ken and his trusty digger back on Tuesday to open more slots on the circular feature (dare I say ring ditch yet?) and the triple linear anomalies in the east field. We simply need more bodies, the more diggers we have, the more slots we can open and the more we can evaluate what we have.

    We're having a well earned rest on Bank Holiday Monday (apart from writing this blog and countless emails) but will be back on site on Tuesday until Saturday.

    Come and join in, if it's different to the archaeology you usually participate in (Roman, urban) you can see how we interpret the more ephemeral clues to our past.

    Gang at lunch
    Taking a well earned rest and making new connections Faversham to Thanet to Shorne
    Map of site
    Map of the site including street names to help navigate to it

     

     

     

  • Badlesmere Bottom 2019 - Day 5

    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?

    Grave cut in ring ditch
    What could the strange cut marked with the range poles be? A terminus? A grave cut? 

    There are still three more features in this trench to examine but tomorrow we will be moving back to trench 1 to finish recording the two ditch slots and to do some teaching for those who would like to learn drawing and recording, 

    Ditch slot in tench 1
    A second quick slot dug into the ditch in trench 1

     

    Members will also be examining the three features present in trench 2 which relate to the rectilinear anomaly around the medieval church site and a circular anomaly that they run alongside.

    Trench 2 annotated
    Geophysical survey results with the plan of trench 2 transposed on. 

    So, plenty to be done and due to the progress made to today, we are bang on target!