Where the first huffkin was made?

A medieval type of Grubenhaus bakery/kitchen from Kent

by Jörn Schuster and Chris J. Stevens
In 1997, a subrectangular Grubenhaus was excavated near Manston on the Isle of Thanet. This building was located in the south-eastern corner of a medieval enclosure which also included a structure with masonry footings, possibly a small manor house. The Grubenhaus had an entrance ramp on its north-western side, flanked by two postholes placed on either side of the ramp near the edge of the pit. The pit was cut into the natural chalk and up to 70 cm deep. In the south-east corner, there was a subcircular hearth or oven measuring c. 1.5m in diameter.

Manston, Isle of Thanet, Kent International Business Park

Its base was constructed of a layer of red-brown clay laid on a bed of tabular flint nodules on top of the natural chalk rock which had been scraped flat. Compared to the base of the rest of the pit, the area of the hearth formed a raised platform. The northern side of the hearth/oven was formed by a narrow raised strip of rammed chalk. Beyond this, to the north was an oblong cut whose northern side consists of a wall of compacted chalk similar to that which separates it from the hearth/oven to its south.
From the pottery recovered from the various layers of the feature’s construction and decay, it appears to have a time span ranging from the late 12th - late 13th/early 14th century. Apart from an ashy layer, none of the excavated deposits suggested an obvious function for the installation, such as pottery or metalworking waste.