13th October 2019

Today was very damp and muddy on site, and the lunchtime showers exacerbated the sticky conditions to such an extent that we abandoned our efforts. At this time of the year it is always very weather dependent, and given the combination of clay soil, rain and stones, the diminishing returns mean that today was our last day digging on site for this season.

Before we left the site we were able to do some useful work. Tony was able to tidy up the 'V' shaped area between the features, and Tania was able to expose the surface, the combined effort allowed us to establish that we did not have a join, but rather that the structure seems to be made up of different types of soil. We also removed more of our baulk to see the line of this feature better.

Kim explored the mysterious stones seen last week. She was able to establish that they were sitting in a slot cut down to the natural ragstone. It is hard to know if this has any real significance, but given that the stones are in a line within the trench created by the building of the structure they must be associated with it, whether ritually or accidentally is hard to say at the moment.

Elsewhere Paul and Sandra identified the run of the feature to the western baulk. But efforts to try and disentangle the two features on this side of the trench were thwarted by the conditions. Nick followed the late Iron Age ditch, and established that there is another feature, a shallow pit, characterised by green hassock that the ditch is cut through.

It only remains for me to thank everyone who was involved in this year's exciting developments. We have established that there is more to discover on this site, and with that in mind we should be back next year.

6th October 2019

As it happened, we confounded the forecast, again, and got away with a dry day, even sunny at times. However, the legacy of rain meant that the trench was quite gloopy in places.

Sandra did a great job clearing out the mud to expose the run of mystery feature 1, whilst Tony excavated more from the area between the two features. This is starting to get even more complicated, as there is a clear change of soil and a slight change of direction where the two features meet. We have yet to unravel this, but it looks at the moment as though there was a gap or entrance that has been filled.

We also exposed more of the stones seen at the end of last week. After removing some of them to see what was beneath we encountered even more of them, arranged in a straight line on the boundary between two features. This could have many interpretations, and speculation will no doubt continue for sometime.

Shown here is a photogrammetry image from photos taken two weeks ago. It is useful to allow us to see the trench in plan and to identify the various possible features.

29th September 2019

We were practicing extreme archaeology on site, sheltering under canvas from the occasional showers, and trying to mitigate the muddy conditions underfoot.

Tony did a great job removing more of the baulk over the Iron Age ditch and confirming the line of the mysterious feature beneath. There has been some head scratching due to the varied nature of the stone and subsoil, trying to decide what is natural if anything in the almost total absence of finds.

Sandra half-sectioned a post hole/pit to one side of the ditch, and Kim and Nick worked hard following the line of the mystery feature across the trench. Towards the end of the day Nick uncovered some unusual white stones in their own dark fill. They appear deliberately placed and are noticeably different to the green hassock and course ragstone that surround them. We have seen this type of stone elsewhere on the site but in this context they are perplexing.

22nd September 2019

A fascinating and puzzling day on site, aided by the cloudy skies that confounded the weather forecasts.

Nick and Kim started the day by doing a section drawing of the baulk that we had left across the Iron Age ditch and stone feature. Once this was done we removed a section of it to better understand what is going on here. As can be seen we do no have the answers yet. But about 6 inches of fill was removed out of this feature, and it is clear that it is still going down. It is also easier to see that we appear to have two features intercutting each other.

Sandra and Linda did excellent work on the ditch. However this has also thrown up some new complications. There appears to be at least one other feature cutting across it and we are also questioning whether the stone feature is cutting the ditch or vice versa. Lots of exciting stuff still to come from this trench.

15th September 2019

It was a bright sunny day and we had to employ the gazebo to provide some much needed shade.

The archaeology though is proving much harder to get to grips with. We had a very full trench and managed to shift a lot of soil amongst the stones, but that did not reveal as much as we had hoped.

Kim volunteered to dig out the area of fill between the two features in the north eastern corner. This has shown that both features are very deep, and indeed we have not yet got to the bottom, but we can see that we are dealing with substantial structures that are cut by the Iron Age ditch.

8th September 2019

A fine day on site without the heat of August in which we made some good progress.

Kim and Annette did splendid work clearing the fill over the stone layer by the two Iron Age ditches. This produced an unexpected result. Unfortunately because the ditch is half under the baulk there are two possible explanations. Either we have a ditch terminus, or the ditch turns abruptly to the north. Only extending the trench in that direction will answer that. But at least we know that that ditch does not extend any further within our trench.

Tony, Linda and Sandra worked hard exposing the central area, removing some of the stones in the process so that we can better see what is going on. In some ways this raised more questions than it answered.

They exposed a feature composed of small compact stones running across the trench with a spur off at one end. This feature seems to demarcate one type of fill from another. It also does not appear to have anything to do with the linear stone feature that we were exposing last week. Somewhere in the middle we should find the answer.

1st September 2019

A blessedly cooler day today in which we made excellent progress.

Linda and Sandra have been valiantly removing the soil overlying the stones in the centre of the trench. This has revealed that there is a make up layer beneath the stones, characterised by small pieces of hassock and patches of clay and flecks of charcoal.

Tanya, David and Paul made quick work of removing the upper layer overlying the new stone feature discovered last week. They were also able to establish that the iron age ditch cuts through this feature making it earlier in date. Before we dig any more in this area we are going to remove more of the fill around the stones across the rest of this area of trench to better understand what is going on.

26th August 2019

Another Scorcher! Very challenging in the trench and we resorted to umbrellas to give us some shade.

New digger Karen did splendid work removing the stones from a section on the western side of our feature. This revealed a change in the soil with an abrupt end. Once again this has raised more questions than it has answered.

Sandra has done more work on our new feature revealing that it maybe larger than we realise, but cut by a pit. It is also possible that this is part of a similar spread of stones on the other side of the trench, and we have started another section to explore this idea further.

25th August 2019

As forecast, it was hot today.

We carried on regardless. Tony and Sandra exposed more of the central area, but we are still not seeing anything yet, so more work on that tomorrow.

Annette started to work on the continuation of the ditch in the northeast corner of the trench, but this is not doing what we expected. Here we are seeing a collection of stones with a straight edge aligned diagonally across the trench, not in the direction that the ditch was supposed to be heading. All very mysterious, and we will have to open up more areas to see what this feature is upto.


23rd August 2019

As this weekend is a bank holiday, and we lost a day last weekend, we will be digging on Monday as well as Sunday at EF. Don't forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as it is forecast to be hot!

18th August 2019

Unfortunately some unforcast heavy rain all morning left us with a very muddy trench and we were forced to abandon for the day. Better luck next time.

11th August 2016

Today we were dodging the showers, which at times were quite heavy and resulted in the trench getting rather sticky. We were lucky to achieve a full day on site.

Nick and Kim completed their drawing work.

Tony did some more work on the 'corn dryer', which is now more or less completed.

And Sandra did more exploratory work around the mysterious stones, but a lot more to do on that before it is any clearer.

On Tuesday we will be undertaking a resistivity survey of a garden on the far bank of the river in Barming to see if we can find any trace of the 'lost' Barming Roman villa.

4th August 2019

Another good dry day with some cloud cover to keep us out of the sun.

We managed to do a lot today after the excitement of last week's cremation burial. Kim and Nick completed their section and undertook to draw it up.

Paul and Tanya concentrated on the 'corn-dryer', taking out the infilled stone layer to reveal the shape of the feature cut out of the natural stone and clay layers. This revealed two anomalies that we will have to explore next week: a small circular area that might be a possible post hole and some stones that look like they are filling another gap.

Annette, Sandra and Linda continued the work on the stone feature that we thought was a truncated ditch. However they revealed a substantial spread of stones that finish in a straight line of stones. A section cut through the feature only reveals more stones. This is starting to look like the base of some sort of structure.

30th July 2019

Next Monday/Tuesday 5th/6th August there is an opportunity to dig at Teston for any MAAG members who are interested. Details given on Sunday at EF site.

28th July 2019

After Saturday's rain and the heat wave last week, today was perfect for archaeology, overcast and dry.

We had a good turn out of diggers, allowing us to achieve a lot in a day. Nick and Kim did more on the section across the ditches, producing a clear relationship between the two late iron age ditches.

Karen, Linda and Annette took on the feature running across the trench at right angles to the IA ditches. They were able to show that there this feature is much more substantial than we previously thought, with many more stones. We need to do more work on the relationship of this feature with the ditches.

Tony, Paul and Sandra picked up on the trench extension from last week, where we exposed the remainder of the 'corn-dryer', and another cremation burial. The corn-dryer is surprisingly large at almost 1.5m in diameter. This was very hard going and will require some serious welly to excavate further. The burial proved to contain two vessels. One of which had a section missing and was broken in several places. It was wedged against several large stones to keep it upright, and the top would probably have been at or close to the Roman surface, suggesting that it may have been arranged that way to facilitate interaction once the grave was backfilled. The other vessel was a shallow bowl, that appeared complete, but when it was lifted, a multitude of unseen cracks appeared and it came away in pieces.

All in all a very satisfactory day on site.

21st July 2019

A fine day back on site, with very healthy looking weeds.

We set about Extending the trench to the west in order to see the rest of the corn-drier feature. Tony and Paul spent the morning doing the hard work of removing the hard dried topsoil, and Tanya and David cleaned it up down to the stone layer that the feature seems to have been cut out of.

Elsewhere, Tanya and Linda started a section though the centre of the circular feature, exposing some possible post holes and other features.

This is still a challenging area with very little in the way of finds or features to guide us.

Kim and Nick continued the section through the ditch, also exposing a second feature running east/west which we have yet to understand.

All good work ready for an interesting day next Sunday.

20th July 2019

Weather permitting we will be back on site at East Farleigh tomorrow. Lets hope the weeds have not gone too mad!

14th July 2019

A good day visiting the Otford Roman site.

Many thanks to everyone for making us feel so welcome. A fascinating day for all of the MAAG diggers.

11th July 2019

Just a reminder that this Sunday we will not be on site at East Farleigh, but instead we will be digging at the Otford Roman Site from 10am - 4pm. Parking is at the station car park, (£1 per day). Please meet in the car park at 10am prompt.

7th July 2019

Perfect weather for archaeology, warm, dry and overcast.

More work was done in all three active trenches. In the large trench, Paul continued to work on the area next to the Iron Age ditch, and also started the new section through it, in both cases exposing what appears to be another feature running through this area. Also exposed in this trench was another post hole from last week.

Linda worked hard in trench 19B where we are struggling to see any features under the stone layer.

Sandra did splendid work in trench 19C where we saw a new feature at right angles to the ditch with a post hole at the base, this was enlarged to expose more of this, only to find that it maybe a pit rather than a ditch.

Next weekend we will be digging at Otford rather than at East Farleigh, on both Saturday and Sunday. Further details to follow on this blog.

30th June 2019

A hot day on site, but at least not as hot as Saturday!

Sandra started the day early cutting back the nettles and weeds which had grown splendidly in the humid conditions.

We were able to return to trench 19B which we had mothballed pending information from the other trenches. Annette and Tony did a great job removing the stones a meter wide section. This does not appear to have revealed the missing feature, as yet. More work to be done here next week.

In the large trench, new members Kim and Nick, aided by Karen took off another few inches to try and identify the edges of the ditch features. Tanya also worked hard clearing the area inside the stone circle to reveal a number of possible post holes. Paul finished the work on the ditch section and began to expose the area alongside which appears to be a separate new feature.

Sandra and Jenny did a great job cleaning up the ditch in the third trench, and exposing another ditch cutting across the first at right angles, and also discovering a post hole in the base.

23rd June 2019

Good dry day on site with plenty of diggers, perhaps a bit humid. The weeds are growing nicely.

In the large trench, 19A, Tony and Paul worked to finish the section across the ditch. This has proved more tricky than expected. The discreet area that we thought was an inserted pit, has morphed into part of the fill of the ditch, but it is still possible that there is another feature lurking here.

Other diggers continued to trowel the area between the baulk and the ditch to see if we can see the far edge of the ditch and any other features that we have not so far identified.

In the other trench, 19C, Sandra and Linda excavated the ditch feature. This produced some Roman roof tile fragments and a few small pieces of early Roman/Iron Age pottery. 

16th June 2019

A day of dodging showers, but we managed to remain on site for a full day's digging.

We welcomed two new members, Nick and Kim, who worked very hard in the large trench troweling up the area where the ditches intersect. 

Paul did great work on the ditch section in the same trench. What we thought was a pit inserted into the ditch fill now appears to be just a discrete tip of fill, but the slot at the bottom is now starting to become clear.

In the other trench Linda and Sandra worked hard to remove the fill from the feature glimpsed last time. It would appear to be a shallow feature with a flat bottom. A piece of Roman roof tile and a couple of small pottery fragments were all that we found today. Still more to do there.

2nd June 2019

A fine dry day on site, but some challenging archaeology in trench 19C.

It was not clear whether the linear features at right angles to one another were the result of one of our trial trenches from 2013, especially as we seemed to be getting a spread of modern finds in this area. After much removal of soil by Sandra and David, we were able to identify an edge running across the trench. We now have to work out which side is the feature! More work to be done here, but at the moment this is looking more like the feature that we were seeking rather than one of our own backfilled trial trenches.

In the other trench Tony has been beavering away on the section across the ditch. This has also proved to be less than straight forward. It would appear that there is another feature dug through the ditch fill. Unfortunately very few finds have come from this area, but hopefully this can be completed when we are next on site.

There will be no digging at East Farleigh next Sunday, (9th June), however for those still looking for something to do, don't forget the Otford visit.

27th May 2019

Another good day building on our work on site yesterday.

Tony did some more work to dig the section through the ditch in the large trench. It is now clear that this feature has cut through the large stone feature, whatever that proves to be.

In the other trench, Sandra, Debbie, and Linda worked hard to identify what is going on here. A mysterious straight feature, approximately 1.5m long, oriented north/south appears to be associated with an area that contains modern pottery. On the plus side we are seeing some definite changes between a stoney layer and an area of mottled fill.

26th May 2019

Today was a good day on site, with only a brief shower in the afternoon to dampen our spirits.

We have made a start on a new trench, 19C, and already it is proving to be very confusing and not conforming to the survey at the moment.

In the large trench, 19A, Karen has excavated a section through a small ditch-like feature to uncover packed stones. Could this be a wall footing?

Paul and Tony have started a section across the eastern baulk to show the ditch and hopefully shed some light on the feature in the southern section of the trench.

We are back on site tomorrow.  

19th May 2019

Good conditions for archaeology today, allowing us to better identify the soil colours.

In the large trench Paul, Tanya and Karen trowelled up half of the trench allowing us to identify the ditches ready for sections across them next week.

Tony persevered with the features at the other end of the trench, identifying another two stake holes, close to the one found last week. This area of the site is still very confusing, not helped by almost no finds.

David, Linda and Sandra were in the other trench where we worked hard to try and get to grips with what is happening there. We removed a section of the stone layer, but the layer beneath looks to be a natural uniform deposit. So for the time being we will have to conclude that it is the stones themselves that are forming the feature.

Next week we will start on a new trench further to the south, and as it is bank holiday weekend so we will be on site for both Sunday and Monday.

12th May 2019

A bright sunny day on site which meant that the soil dried very quickly and the features were hard to see.

Sandra, Karen and Tony did a great job in the large trench, clearing the surface so that we could see what we were dealing with.

We appear to have a bank of natural stone to the south, and some sort of ditch cutting across from the west. Tony made a start putting a section across this, and encountered a squarish stake hole. 

We also seem to have stones delineating another large feature, which has yet to make much sense. Sandra made a start sectioning another small ditch cutting across from the south-west.

In the other trench Elizabeth made a start removing some of the stone layer.

6th May 2019

Today we returned to site to lift the pots from the previous day. Sandra did a tremendous job cleaning the last of the fill out and lifting them. Unfortunately the cracks have meant that both pots did not come out intact.

Elsewhere we did more work in the other trench, which is still not really conforming to what we were expecting based on the survey results.

Lastly while cleaning up the area around the corn-drier another feature has emerged in the baulk, which we may be able to examine further when we extend the trench in this area.

5th May 2019

Today was a good turnout, and the weather stayed dry, if not exactly warm. We welcomed Lee and Nicola who came to dig with us and possibly join the group.

We were able to do a lot in both trenches, shifting a lot of soil in trench A in the area that we had previously not touched. In trench B we have been stripping off more soil in and around the feature. These areas have yet to reveal their secrets.

At the end of our previous Sunday on site we identified another pot protruding through the soil, suggestive of another ritual deposit, close to the 'corn-drier' in trench A. Today Sandra and Karen started to explore this feature further. By the look of the pots, of a similar Roman date to the other one. 

By the end of the day they had revealed two pots, both of which had a number of cracks, no doubt caused by the digger, so we decided not to lift it until the following day when we had more time.

28th April 2019

In contrast to last week we were dodging April showers, but still managed to make good progress in both trenches.

Sandra has done more work around the corn-drier, exposing a lower level beneath the deposited pot. A tentative date for which puts it in the first half of the fifth century in line with other sherds that came from the flue last year.

In the same trench Karen, Paul and Annette have been doing great work exposing the ditch and in the process identified another ditch running at right angles.

In the other trench Debbie excavated a feature which appears to be related to the hop garden. Jenny, Linda and Tony, cleaned the area around the central feature as well as the post holes and made a start on the central area.

Next week is bank holiday weekend and we will be digging on both Sunday and Monday for anyone keen to do more.

21st April 2019

Another glorious sunny day on site, with a good turn out of volunteers, and we welcomed new member Tony.

In our largest trench Sandra started the day excavating a cut within the 'corn-drier'. Excitement built when she uncovered a complete pot, sat upright in the centre of the cut. 

The pot has been removed and the outside cleaned to reveal quite a course handmade pot in a grey fabric with inclusions and the remnants of a black coating. 

Dating of this vessel will be vital, as at the moment the feature is believed to be fifth century, but if the pot turns out to be iron age, this may have to be revised. The contents have not yet been examined so we do not yet know if it is a ritual deposit at the end or beginning of the life of the corn-drier.

In the other trench, we continued to clean around the feature from last week. We appear to have three post holes running in a line roughly east/west evenly spaced. 

There is no dating evidence for these, so it is possible that they are modern, associated with the hop garden, however it is not on the known alignment of the rows of hops.

17th April 2019

Update on our pots - Malcolm Lyne has very kindly identified them as a biconical beaker of Monaghan class 2G1 in North Kent Fineware. c.50/70AD - 100AD, and the red coloured pot as a butt-beaker in Hoo St Werbergh oxidised fabric without white slip. c.45AD - 80AD. Same age as the Flagon and the brooch.

15th April 2019

Back on site today with Elizabeth to excavate. We managed to get everything out once we had found the edges of the cut. It was slow progress using fine tools so as not to damage anything. 

Unfortunately when it came time to lift them, hairline cracks meant that two of them broke into pieces. This may have been due to the mechanical digger activity.

A nice surprise was a third vessel, a beaker, and beneath that a small brooch. 

A very good day in fine sunshine. We will now have to do more in this trench and see if there are any more in the vicinity.

14th April 2019

A fine day to accompany some fine archaeology.

We welcomed a new member Karen, who got stuck in straight away in our largest trench adjacent to our 2018 trench. 

Here we uncovered a circular feature at the other end of the flue, making this look like a 'corn-drier' type feature. 

We will excavate this further next week, but it is gratifying to effectively complete this feature. In the same trench we also saw a lense of charcoal probably associated with the corn-drier, and we are starting to see the Iron-Age ditches which we discovered last year.

In the other trench with the protruding pot, we are starting to see the feature emerging. It appears to be a large 'D' shaped feature demarcated by a ring of stones. The pot has been dated to 50-100AD and is a ringed flagon in north Kent fineware. We were keen to remove this in case it got further damaged. However in the process of excavating it we found a further almost intact pot.  

Very exciting developments in both trenches which we will explore further next weekend.

7th April 2019

First day on site for 2019, and the weather was kind to us. We had a good turnout, and we welcomed two new members, Ziggy and Paul. 

The day was spent tidying up the trenches, and making a start on trowelling. Our jar, looks like a Roman flagon, although it will remain in the ground until we can establish the feature that it is sitting in.

3rd April 2019

Mike Howard did a splendid job operating the digger today. We opened up four trenches for excavation this year. One other trench proved to be void of any archaeology so that was backfilled.

We have backfilled last year's trench, but extended it with a new section picking up the ditches from last year, and another ditch that contained the cremation deposit from 2013, as well as a mysterious anomaly seen on the magnetometry survey.

In another trench we discovered the top of a jar with handle sitting upright, possibly another ritual deposit. This is left in situ until we start on site.

All is set for us to start on Sunday the 7th April, hope to see you then.

2nd April 2019

Once again Mike Howard has volunteered to operate the digger which is booked for the 3rd April. Lets hope we don't get the weather we had today!

All being well we should be ready to start on Sunday the 7th April. Hope you can join us.

24th February 2019

Great weather for February! Thanks to today's volunteers, Linda, Geoff, Sandra and Mike for helping to make today's resistivity survey go like clockwork. We managed to finish off the rest of the field to add to what we did last weekend. 

As you can see the results are very confusing. There are a couple of possible right angled features, but equally they could be geology. As ever the only way to find out for sure is to dig!

22nd February 2019

Thanks to the assistance of the technical department at the University of Kent, and some MAAG volunteers, we have been able to undertake a magnetometry survey of the area of land at East Farleigh where we dug last year. As you can see from the results it is very noisy. This is probably due to ferrous objects in the soil, maybe left over from hop garden days, and the nature of the geology. However there are clearly a few anomalies that look as though they could be of archaeological interest. Most notably a sort of rounded off square to the east of our current trench.

We also managed to do some resistivity, which we are hoping to complete this coming Sunday. Expectations for this were low as we were not expecting there to be any buildings here. However it has picked up the same feature as the resistivity survey, and an intriguing anomaly on the north side which could be a wall.

Don't forget to open images in a new window to see larger image.

9th February 2019

In advance of any new work in 2019 we have arranged to do a magnetometry survey and resistivity survey of the site at East Farleigh, around our 2018 activity. This is scheduled for Sunday the 17th February, and will be using the University of Kent's equipment. Of course at this time of year the weather may be a limiting factor. Anyone who would like to come and assist is welcome. We start at 10am, please park in front of Farleigh Forge garage and walk along. 

6th January 2019

Happy New Year!

Over the winter we have surveyed the trenches from 2018 using the KAS equipment, kindly operated by Richard Taylor, and we are on course to borrow the Kent University Mag and Res kit in the next month or so, once the weeds have died down. This should allow us to identify any targets on the site that we have missed so far. Volunteers will be needed to assist with that when the time comes. 

We now have the pottery dates for the ditches (and the cremation pot from 2013), they are late iron age, but the kiln feature appears to be 5th century. So in line with our earliest and latest features in the main part of the site. This could be very interesting as it gives more detail of the land use immediately either side of the Roman period.

Will keep this updated as we know what our plans are for this year.