VM_365 Day 305 Filling in the blanks……

VM 305Today’s image shows two views of a very small excavation carried out during the construction of a garage at North Foreland Road, Broadstairs in 2004.

The North Foreland landscape is particularly rich in archaeological remains. Cropmarks identified by aerial photography show an ancient trackway along the edge of the hillside. A large open area excavation carried out in recent years on the previously undeveloped playing fields of the former St Stephen’s College confirmed that the area had been occupied at least since the Early Bronze with the construction of burial mounds and during the Iron Age when a settlement was established which included a Middle Iron Age enclosure and significant numbers of postholes and large storage pits.

The area to the east of the site was developed for housing from the late 19th century onwards and although occasional archaeological discoveries were reported these were generally made before a time when the significance of the area was understood and archaeological features were often not recorded in detail or at all. So how do we fill in the blanks in an area that has already been developed?

As a local archaeological organisation, we are often involved in very small scale construction projects such as, for example, a small garage for a house along North Foreland Road, not far from the St Stephen’s site shown in the images above. The excavations only covered an area of approximatley 6 metres by 5 metres and the ground had already been disturbed by modern drainage which is visible as a linear stripe of dark soil visible above the T shaped scale in the picture on the right. However, eight pits and postholes containing Iron Age pottery still survived suggesting that the Iron Age settlement excavated at the St Stephen College site was much more extensive. An example of one of the pits is shown in the picture on the right.

Through the keyhole of small investigations such as these we can fill in the missing detail and gradually build up a bigger picture of the landscape.

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