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New light on Kent's past

Kentish Sites and Sites of KentKentish Sites and Sites of KentA book shedding new light on Kent's history Kentish Sites and Sites of Kent was launched yesterday at County Hall, Maidstone. Finds from the four excavations reported in the book were on display and there was a demonstration of flint knapping from Phil Harding before the book was formally presented to Councillor David Brazier, Deputy Cabinet Member for the Environment and the Council's Heritage Champion.

Councillor Brazier commented 'the range of techniques that archeologists use today is impressive. Experts can look at tiny remains of ancient seeds and say what crops prehistoric farmers were growing. High powered scientific techniques like radiocarbon dating give accurate dates back into prehistoric times. The results are fascinating and all this work has come about because of intervention by the County Council's own archaeological team.'

The book tells the story of four excavations across the county which discovered finds ranging in date from the Stone Age to medieval times. Some of the key finds include a hoard of Bronze Age axes over 2,500 years old found at Weatherlees, an Iron Age farmstead at West Malling with evidence for textile making, Anglo-Saxon buildings at Ramsgate, and a medieval bakery or brewery at Sittingbourne.

Kentish Sites and Sites of Kent book launch: Phil Harding, Councillor David Brazier of KCC, and Keith Jeffrey of Southern WaterKentish Sites and Sites of Kent book launch: Phil Harding, Councillor David Brazier of KCC, and Keith Jeffrey of Southern Water

Lis Dyson, Kent County Council's County Archaeologist said 'Today most archaeological excavations are done before new development. This makes sure that we can find out about the County's heritage before building starts. It might seem unlikely but a water pipeline, a road bypass, a supermarket and a new housing development have each provided important new evidence for Kent's history.'

In welcoming Councillor Brazier Sue Davies, Chief Executive of Wessex Archaeology said that she was pleased to introduce this first volume dedicated to sites in Kent. With a new Wessex Archaeology office in Maidstone, she hoped that the book would be the first of many. She also commented on how three of the excavations reported in Kentish Sites and Sites of Kent had discovered medieval bake houses or brew houses. Dating to between the 11th and 14th centuries this type of building has so far only been found in Kent and appear to be distinctive to the county.'

The book is available for purchase in our books section.

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