Category Archives: Cliffsend

VM_365 Day 270 Medieval purse frame

VM 270Today’s image for Day 270 of the VM_365 project shows a medieval copper alloy purse frame dating from the period 1474-1550 which spans the reigns of Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III. The purse frame was found in the excavation of a medieval well at Little Cliffsend Farm that was previously featured on VM_365 Day 251.

The metal frame would have supported a fabric or leather purse suspended from the bar, one of the arms of which is now bent. The purse and frame would then have been suspended from a belt or other strap by the central, swivelling, suspension loop.

We can only speculate as to whether this was just an item thrown away with other waste into the well, or whether it was an unfortunate loss by someone leaning over the edge to draw water. Either way it seems that the purse was empty when it ended up in the well.

VM_365 Day 251 Medieval Well Shaft at Cliffsend

VM 251

Today’s image for Day 251 of the VM_365 project shows a Medieval well shaft under excavation at Little Cliffsend Farm between 1985 and 1987.

The well head, which was lined with sandstone boulders, was discovered in 1985 when a large hole opened up in the fields above the cliff top overlooking Pegwell Bay.  The hole had been caused by the soils filling the well shaft collapsing into an open void lower down.

The backfill of the shaft was excavated by members of the Thanet Archaeological Unit under the direction of Dave Perkins and Len Jay, to a depth of more than 16 metres before the water table was reached and it had to be abandoned. If you look closely at the base of the shaft you can see the yellow hard hat of one of the excavators.

The well, dated by pottery sherds to the 14th century, was cut into the solid chalk bedrock and featured handholds in the sides, presumably cut to allow the original excavator of the well to enter and exit more easily. Similar well shafts have been exposed in the cliff face at Pegwell Bay nearby.


VM_365 Day 236 Roman cemetery site, Thorne, near Cliffsend

VM 326

This archive image for Day  236 of the VM_365 project shows a Roman cremation burial under excavation on the Monkton Gas Pipeline in 1983.  A small  cemetery of nine graves including inhumations and cremations was found near Thorne Farm during the installation of the gas pipeline.

The image above shows Grave 6, a cremation contained in a large globular amphora (Dressel type 20). The upper edges of the vessel, including the handles and the rim, were missing; lost through plough damage or stripping the soil for the pipeline.  An adult and a young child were represented by the cremated bones. The bones of small rodents and amphibians , frogs or toads, were found in a soil deposit above the cremated bone.   These creatures had presumably been trapped in the hollow void above the cremation deposit in the vessel after its burial.

The location of cremation and inhumation cemeteries of Roman date can be seen on our map of Roman Thanet shown on Day 61.


VM_365 Day 168 Retouched Flint Arrowhead

VM 168

Today’s VM_365 Day 168 image shows a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age arrowhead from Cliffsend.
This barbed and tanged arrowhead had broken along one of the barbs and instead of being discarded, the edge was retouched so it could be reused.

Other examples of flint objects that have been reworked into a useable object following damaged were posted for Day 165 and Day 50.