|Coldrum Longbarrow, probably built some time between 4000-3500 BC, is the best-preserved of the many man-made Neolithic structures near Maidstone known as the Medway Megaliths. Its sarsen stones mark a rectangular mound covering a communal grave. The first prehistoric ‘finds’ on the site were pot fragments, unearthed in 1856. Later in the 19th century Benjamin Harrison and Flinders Petrie measured and sketched the site, followed in 1910 by Francis James Bennett and Edwin W Filkins, who found five skulls and bones from an estimated 22 adults and children.
On July 10 1926 the National Trust bought Coldrum Longbarrow and dedicated it to the memory of Harrison, its first archaeologist and historian. He first went there in 1864 and studied it for the next 57 years. He died in 1921, aged 83, having lived all his life in Ightham, where he ran a village store for 54 years and, above the shop, had a museum of his collection of local ‘finds’. Recent radiocarbon dating of Coldrum’s bones has shown that they are among the earliest remains of Neolithic people ever found in Britain.