28th October 2018

Unfortunately the rain has beaten us today, too wet on site to do anything. So today's digging is cancelled. This was due to be the last day of the season anyway. So no more now until next year.

I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has participated this year. It has been challenging, one way and another, but we have added valuable information to our knowledge of the site. Hope to see you all next year if not at the MAAG talks.

21st October 2018

A glorious autumn day with wall to wall sunshine that made photography impossible.

We are now in the final days on site for this season so last few tasks and final recording were the order of the day. We dug the two small circular features that turned out to be very shallow, probably part of the charcoal spread. Tanya and Jenny did a great job on that as well as cutting another section through the ditch with the slot.

Mike removed a large section to ensure that we had not missed any features to the south of the trench and Sandra cleaned up the other ditch. A good useful day on site. 

14th October 2018

Our gamble paid off and we defied the forecast to get in a full days digging.

We managed to achieve a lot today, leaving only a few tasks to do before closing up for this year.

Sandra did a great job of cleaning up the intercutting ditches at the eastern side of the trench ready for final photos.

Mike excavated the western end of the earlier ditch and Tanya and Linda worked hard to get the western end of the later ditch sorted out. This later ditch is unusual in that it has a slot at the base about 200mm wide, it was dug to the ragstone bed. We are only seeing  a 4m length of it, so it is hard to identify its purpose. The profile seems unnecessarily precise to be a field boundary.

We have also exposed a couple of post holes underneath the charcoal feature which will be ready to excavate next time.

7th October 2018

Another bright day allowed us to do more work on the ditches in the trench. Sandra and Linda did splendid work exposing the line of the ditches in difficult light conditions. We are fortunate to be able to see the two ditches crossing each other heading off across the site.

They are both quite shallow with only a few sparse finds to guide us.

Don't forget that there will be an update on this year's work and any learnings from last year at the Trevor Simmons evening talk this coming Friday.

30th September 2018

A lovely warm day and good cloud cover later for photos. A nice change from last weekend. We were at full capacity today and managed to get plenty achieved. Sandra and Jenny expanded the section on the eastern side to reveal more of the confluence of the two ditches. 

While Tanya and Linda worked on the western section to expose the other end of the same ditches, and David did some valuable work on the central section. 

It is looking much clearer now and some pottery finds should confirm the relative ages of the ditches. However there is still a question mark over an area of the trench where Tanya was digging where we are getting more pottery which maybe yet another ditch or other feature, we will have to wait until next week to see.

23rd September 2018

Unfortunately we have been beaten by the weather today, no digging on site due to the heavy rain. Hopefully better luck next weekend.

16th September 2018

A fine day allowed us to get on with exploring the various features that are presenting themselves in the trench.

Tanya has removed the charcoal feature which turned out to be very shallow and probably no more than a dump beside the oven feature. Mike has started a section through the linear feature running diagonally north west /south east
across the trench, revealing one side of a ditch (white dashed line).

Meanwhile Sandra has cut a section through the eastern end of the trench across the 'flue' feature. It now looks as though we have another ditch running roughly east/west (red dashed lines), and the oven and flue were cut into the top of this, and it is co-incidental that the flue almost runs along the line of the ditch.

A bit more work in the next few weeks should resolve these feature more clearly

9th September 2018

Ideal weather for digging and we got a lot done.

A new feature, or possibly an extension of an existing one has appeared, connecting to the area of charcoal and running off into the baulk. We will be ready to excavate these features next week.

2nd September 2018

Today the sun shone and barely a cloud, in fact rather too hot and bright. We welcomed our new recruit Jenny who braved the hot weather.

Good progress was made removing more material alongside the flue feature, revealing numerous stones, some of which appeared to be in a straight line, but it is still not clear exactly what we are dealing with. Hopefully more soil removed should provide some clues.

27th August 2018

As promised we did another half day on site today, taking advantage of dry conditions after yesterday's rain.

Sandra is making excellent progress on the 'flue' feature now that some rain has allowed us to see the colours more clearly. It is looking to be a far more substantial feature than we had originally thought, and may turn out to be something that we are not expecting. We still have plenty of surface layers to remove before we see its true extent.

Tanya worked tirelessly in the newly extended area of the trench and we are now starting to see a row of stones and some darker soil features emerging.

A nice find today was a flint scraper from Tanya's occupation layer.

 

26th August 2018

Unfortunately rain stopped play today, only getting to tea break before we had to abandon.

However, we will be doing a morning on site tomorrow, as it is bank holiday Monday to make up the lost time.

19th August 2018

Back on site at East Farleigh we had good weather for archaeology, not too hot not too cold and good cloud cover. We were able to make a start extending the trench so that we could see the extent of the burnt feature. This is a curious thing, being an odd shape and very little clue to its purpose as yet.

Elsewhere Sandra is doing a spendid job of defining the sides of her flue feature now that we have had some rain to dampen the soil and bring out the colours. It appears to be larger than we originally thought, being partially filled with soil and stones.

12th August 2018

Today was the last day of the Kafs dig at nearby Teston site and several MAAG diggers assisted. A very interesting site that should continue in future years.

11th August 2018

Tomorrow's digging will once again be in support of Kafs at their site in Teston. Meet there at 10am, off the A26 Tonbridge Road just before you get to Wateringbury, when coming from Maidstone, left down a single lane trackway.

5th August 2018

A blazing hot day at 32 degrees, what a change from last Sunday! We opted to answer the call to assist the Kafs team who are currently digging at nearby Teston Roman site, (in a shady spot). Some good archaeology and good company. Plenty to do so we may be back there next Sunday.

29th July 2018

Sorry, ignore 0830 post, the rain has now arrived and skies very grey and forbidding. I think we will take the ominous forecast seriously and abandon today's digging. Hopefully next weekend will be more conducive.

8th July 2018

Another very hot and dry day on site, but the trench is starting to make a bit more sense.

Sandra is doing well excavating the 'flue' feature, and Mike and Linda have between them cleaned up the rest of the trench to reveal two new charcoal filled features, one of which is disappearing beneath the baulk.

There will be no digging on site for the next two weeks, our next Sunday will be the 29th July. And don't forget the Maidstone Museum trip on the 22nd July.

1st July 2018

Another scorcher! Very hot and dry on site, but we managed to get a lot achieved. Taking out the remaining backfill and opening up the trench for further exploration.

The flue for the oven feature has been further exposed and we have started to excavate that. We are also seeing several areas of burning, and the first pieces of Roman roof tile and pottery are starting to appear.

24th June 2018

Another glorious day, almost too hot for digging. We made a start on the trench near the bread oven in the field. Mike Howard had opened up a path through the shoulder high nettles on Friday with the machine and we were able to make good progress uncovering previous years workings and extending elsewhere. We are already seeing a spread of charcoal that looks like it might be another feature.

22nd June 2018

What a glorious day for hiring a machine and digging new trenches! Unfortunately it was not such a glorious day for the archaeology. Mike Howard did a splendid job of operating the machine today and we backfilled the two previous trenches that were complete.

We then opened four further trenches, all of which proved to be devoid of any archaeology. Finally we re-opened a trench in the open field area around a kiln feature which we will start to dig on Sunday.

Although we have drawn a blank in this area, we have comprehensively explored it this season and on previous occasions, so we know that we are not missing anything, and that the site does not extend in this direction. Valuable information.

17th June 2018

Back on site today, and the rain stayed away.

We did some more work on the second trench, excavating a feature defined by redeposited stones. This was a difficult job and one that was singularly unrewarding as only a lone flint flake was found. It appears to be another modern feature probably associated with the hop garden or orchard. Elsewhere in the trench we could find no other features, and the trench has now been closed down.

We will try and arrange for a mechanical digger to backfill these trenches and open some new areas. 

What this is telling us is that the ditch system does not appear to extend this far on its previous alignment.

27th May 2018

Another fine dry day, although a bit of bailing out had to be done after last night's rain. Welcome to new member Mike who enjoyed his first day of real on site archaeology.

As we work on the lower levels of the second trench we are confounded by the soil that we are finding as it looks very clean and natural, and yet the occasional piece of worked flint means we have further to go.

A curious arrangement of stones also needs more investigation to determine its status.

More work to be done when we are next back on site which will be on the 17th June, weather permitting, as I, and several of the regular diggers will be away digging in Italy for the next two weekends.


20th May 2018

A fine day and good work done in the trenches.

We were able to complete the first trench, discovering two hop strainers in the process, but no Roman features. This trench is now closed down.

The second trench has been extended and we need to explore that further. 

13th May 2018

The rain held off and we were able to get a lot done in both trenches. We have now excavated both trenches down to natural. There have been a number of small features which have all turned out to be modern, associated with the orchard that once occupied this area. 

We have not seen any sign of the expected Roman ditch and roadway.

This may mean that it has veered off from its previous line, and we will extend our trench to explore that possibility. Equally it could be that it ceased before getting this far.

This is still valid and useful information about the site and we will persevere until we get a full picture.

6th May 2018

Glorious day but pleasantly shaded among the trees. Good progress was made today in both trenches with what appears to be natural ragstone appearing, but no sign of the expected ditch yet. Unfortunately the strong sun and dappled shade makes for poor photography. 

Geoff was responsible for our star find from the spoil heap with his metal detector. This appears to be the end of a copper alloy pin. As it is unstratified it's age is not certain, but it looks Roman.

29th April 2018

What a contrast to last Sunday, cold and breezy, but at least it remained largely dry.

Good progress was made in both trenches, but despite some features starting to emerge it is not yet clear what we are looking at. Another day's work should clarify things.


22nd April 2018

A glorious day in the trenches. We made solid progress but are still in hill-wash layers, so finds of Roman roof tile and the odd piece of worked flint are still to be found alongside modern glass and ceramics.

However a mark of our progress is the discovery of the modern land drain that we have seen previously in this part of the site. The Roman layers should not be too much further down.

15th April 2018

A good turn out of diggers ensured that we made fine progress in both trenches. The weather remained largely dry and we are starting to leave the roots and topsoil behind. 

We are beginning to get more interesting finds too, with our first piece of Roman pottery, some fragments of Roman glass, a button and our mystery object a small ceramic bead which looks like it might be the end of a decorative pin.

We also welcomed two new diggers, Linda and Geoff who slotted in splendidly.

8th April 2018

Our first day back on site at East Farleigh, albeit in a slightly different part of the site, was attended by some light rain in the morning, but the hardy diggers were able to clear the ground, set out two trenches and make a solid start.

Hopefully we will get more diggers next Sunday and we can start to make some progress.

25th March 2018

Just for Clarification I have added a section of the 1963 map with the references to Roman buildings. The area shown in light green is the field where we have permission to dig this year. We will start to the east, among the trees adjacent to the trackway. It is here that I hope that we will pick up the drainage ditch. We may also be able to put some other trenches in around where the cremation urn was uncovered, in the centre of the field.

17th March 2018

Welcome to the first blog of 2018.

At the end of 2017 we had reached a very exciting stage in our excavations in and around building six. Unfortunately we ran out of time and were not able to answer all of the questions that we would have like to. But that's the nature of archaeology, every new piece of information leads to new questions. 

As many of you will know the property on which the site was situated was sold to new owners and at the time of writing we have not been able to get permission to return to the site. Those questions will have to remain unanswered for the timebeing.

In the meantime we have started the process of preparing the material that we have gathered over the last twelve years for publication in a definitive site report. If anyone feels that they have skills to offer then please contact the group secretary or directly to myself or Albert.

But we do have permission to dig in the field to the rear of the MAP building at the top of the drive leading to the site, which is separately owned. If you are familiar with it, it is the area of land behind the skip. Previously we have put trial trenches into this area and only uncovered a couple of archaeological features. However we were not able to look at the area closest to the trackway where the trees have been planted, and that is where we will focus our attention this year. We might expect to see a continuation of the drainage ditch, and there is also a reference to Roman building remains being found in this field on the 1960 OS map, so you never know what we may uncover. 

I intend to start work on the 8th of April, from 10am as usual. We will have to confine ourselves to Sundays due to the lack of parking during the week. As there are no storage facilities we will have to take everything we need with us. So if you do have your own tools please bring them with you.