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A Roman military discovery in Gravesend?

Submitted by Jay Curtis on 13 March 2021

The Discovery of a Roman Settlement in the Centre of Gravesend

Recently published findings from the excavations of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit in Gravesend in 1989 draw attention to the discovery of a riverside Romano-British settlement over an area of at least 5 acres, a road extending inland, and a possible Roman military site.  The area under excavation was about 150m south of the bank of the River Thames, close to the centre of the town.    The findings included a V-shaped ditch from 1.50-1.75 m deep, apparently part of an enclosure and thought to have been cut in the middle of the 1st century AD and of possible  military origin.  If this is correct, then this is a most important and exciting discovery, perhaps indicating activity in the years following the Claudian invasion of 43 AD.   It has been suggested that there might have been a relationship with another early Roman  military ditch 3.5 km to the south-west at Springhead, although there is now a theory that this might date from one of Caesar’s invasions, nearly 100 years before.

The work of excavation, carried out in advance of the construction of the St. George’s Shopping Centre, was funded by Gravesham Borough Council and the Department of the Environment.

The report, from which this information has been taken, is by Brian Philp, and entitled The Discovery of the Roman Settlement in the Centre of Gravesend, Kent, published by the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit in 2020.

Kent Archaeology Society
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