Welcome to the Winter 2017 Newsletter from the Kent Archaeological Field School

Dear Member, we will be sending a Newsletter email each quarter to keep you up to date with news and views on what is planned at the Kent Archaeological Field School and what is happening on the larger stage of archaeology both in this country and abroad. For more details of courses and trips see www.kafs.co.uk  I do hope you enjoy this newsletter which looks forward to a summer of exciting ‘digging’ opportunities. Paul Wilkinson.

Breaking News: The lost sounds of Stonehenge

David Sillito writing in the arts column of the London Times:

There are many questions surrounding the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge but might sound help in the search for answers?

Thomas Hardy said it had a strange "musical hum". Tess of the d'Urvbervilles ends at Stonehenge and features the "sound". Modern-day druids also say they experience something special when they gather at Stonehenge and play instruments within the stone circle.

However, Stonehenge is a ruin. Whatever sound it originally had 3,000 years ago has been lost but now, using technology created for video games and architects, Dr Rupert Till of the University of Huddersfield has - with the help of some ancient instruments - created a virtual sound tour of Stonehenge as it would have sounded with all the stones in place. Arriving at 07:00 on a decidedly chilly January morning, I was sceptical. Dr Till had arrived with a horn, a drum and some sticks to try to show me that, even in its partially deconstructed state, there was still a distinctive echo.

Perhaps it's the mystique of the stones but it's easy to hear something. However, sound is always going to bounce off huge standing stones: how can we say that was in any way meaningful for people 3,000 years ago?

Dr Till says there's a great deal of evidence that ancient people were intrigued and drawn to places that had a distinctive sound and Stonehenge had a "strange acoustic". Even today, the wind or drumming can, he says, help generate a 47hz bass note.

He first got a taste of what the circle might do to sound when he visited a concrete replica of the original intact Stonehenge in Maryhill in the US state of Washington.

He has now developed an app which will help people blot out the sounds - including those made by tourists, and cars on the nearby A303 - and go back to the soundscape of 3,000 years ago.

He's used instruments that were used at the time, such as bone flutes and animal horns, to give people a sense of what music would have sounded like within the reverberation of the intact stone circle and says the site has some of the characteristics you might expect of a rock concert venue.

Dr Till explains that there's there's strong evidence that people several thousand years ago had an interest in acoustic environments. He's worked on caves in Spain in which instruments have been found deep underground.

The echoes of the tunnels and cave systems may have had a special meaning for people. There are also, what appears to be, human markings on certain "musical" stalactites. Strike the stalactites in the right way and they give off a deep resonant note and can be played like a huge vertical xylophone.

Stonehenge is a magnet for strange theories but this reflects a wider movement within archaeology to try to recreate the past with the rapidly growing technology of virtual reality (VR). Dr Aaron Watson is a research archaeologist and specialises in visualising the past.

VR, he says, opens up a new way of researching history.

"The material record can't give us all the answers," he explains.

"The moment we start creating a virtual reality world it begins to ask questions, especially about people. What were they wearing, what were their postures, were they highly coloured, tattooed? As soon as we create the immersive experience it demands those answers.

"It gives a new sensory experience to looking at the past that might take us beyond what we describe in books."

BBC News: The lost sounds of Stonehenge

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Breaking News/2: Oplontis excavation opportunities

The Oplontis Project began in 2006 with the study of the site known as Oplontis situated at Torre Annunziata, Italy. The work is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy at the University of Texas in Austin. Its two directors are John R. Clarke and Michael L. Thomas. In addition the Kent Archaeological Field School, Faversham, Kent UK under its director Dr Paul Wilkinson has been involved in fieldwork at both villa sites since 2008.

The aims of the project are to enable an understanding of the two buildings, one of which is Villa ‘A’, the other Villa ‘B’ to be enhanced through a comprehensive study of the buildings, the fabric, the artefacts and human remains, their location, and their function including a 3-d model with interactive database which will enable scholars to write a series of comprehensive volumes which will be published by the Humanities eBook series of the American Council of Learned Societies. The first appeared in 2014.

Villa ‘A’ is now recognised as one of the most sumptuous and extravagant Roman villas overlooking the Bay of Naples. It is thought by many that the villa was the property of Poppaea Sabina the Younger who was born in Pompeii in AD30 and married Nero in AD62. The evidence is somewhat circumstantial and consists of graffiti found on an amphora which said ‘secundo poppaea’ which in translation means ‘to the second [slave or freedman] of Poppaea’.

The villa was excavated by an Italian team over twenty years ago, and although it was impossible because of modern development to find the limits of the villa some 99 rooms and spaces were excavated including a sixty metre swimming pool and formal gardens. The villa is probably best known for its wonderful Second Style wall frescoes which can be found in a number of rooms located around the atrium, itself dating back to about 50BC.

Villa ‘B’ is located about 300 metres to the east of Villa ‘A’ and is not a villa. Its likely function was a warehouse where wine would be processed and shipped out in amphorae. Some 400 amphorae still litter the site. Around the warehouse are roads and streets of town houses still waiting to be excavated.

The plan of the warehouse is focused on a central courtyard surrounded by a two-storey peristyle of Nocera tufa columns. The eastern side of the peristyle includes an entrance opening onto an unexcavated road running north south and detected through our coring campaign. Ground floor storage rooms open up into this central space whilst above on the second floor are residential rooms. To the south lies the remains of a colonnade and portico and, set back, a series of large barrel vaulted storage rooms which faced the sea. In these rooms, just as in the Roman port area of Herculaneum, dozens of skeletons were found of people waiting to be rescued by boat from the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79.

In 2008 I was invited by John Clarke to join the team and started work on site at Villa ‘A’ helping with a small evaluation trench located in the southern area of the large swimming pool. One of its aims was to attempt to date the adjacent foundation wall of Room 78, the large diaeta (private room) to the south-west of the swimming pool. We excavated through demolition layers of Roman material which included fragments of exquisite fresco, painted stucco fragments and, the most wonderful of all, beautiful oil lamps with a variety of designs. To an archaeologist who normally excavates Roman sites in Britain the quality and quantity of finds was staggering. The Fourth Style fresco fragments indicated a terminus post quem date of about 45AD for the construction of the diaeta.

The following year I returned to Oplontis with a small team from the Kent Archaeological Field School (KAFS) and a Landover full of archaeological kit. The drive from Kent, through France, across the Alps and down the spine of Italy was memorable and is something I still look forward to every year. In a way it is a drive through a historic landscape, and gives one a feel of how extremes and opportunities of landscape moulded the lives of past peoples. The 2009 season was busy and eight trenches were excavated at Villa ‘A’. In addition Giovanni Di Maio who had already undertaken some work on the geological formations below the villa cored three additional areas to the south of the villa and proved that Villa ‘A’ was situated on a cliff about 13 metres above the Roman sea level. Our work in 2009 included a test pit dug through the north-west corner of the pool. We found that the pool had originally been larger and had been reduced in width presumably to allow the colonnade of porticos on the west side to be built. In addition we excavated part of a circular fountain in Room 20. It had been revealed by workmen laying cables in 2007 and not recorded. On investigation we found a partly demolished fountain buried under a metre of demolition debris. The fountain had quite a pronounced tilt to it which might suggest Villa ‘A’ had been subjected to serious earthquake damage in the years before AD79. All the piping to the fountain had been robbed, and in addition a statue which graced the south edge of the fountain was no longer there, but its concrete ‘footprint’ was!

Another of our trenches was located in the north-east corner of the north gardens and for once we were digging through layers of pumice deposited by the volcanic eruption of AD79. Underneath we found an open canal 80cm in width and finished in coating of cocciopesto (pink waterproof cement), known to archaeologists as opus signinum. The canal runs north with a slight curve to the east under the modern car park. The function of the aqueduct fed canal cannot be proved, but it is likely that it was an open water feature, part of an elaborate garden which went out of use in antiquity when it was backfilled with earth and debris.

Another garden we looked at was in Room 32, the peristyle in the servants quarters located to the east of the main atrium. We discovered evidence for an earlier peristyle that matched the footprint of the later build. The trench produced copious amounts of marble mosaic flooring, opus signinum slabs, and the exquisite marble nose from a small statue! The water features investigated in 2009 suggest that the first phase of the villa dated to about 50BC, and was seriously damaged in the earthquakes of AD62 with the water features decommissioned and either demolished or backfilled. In 2010 we excavated nine trenches with a view to unravelling the complexities of the water supply to the villa. In the south-east of the north gardens we excavated a large cistern with a capacity of about two cubic metres of water. It seems the cistern, constructed of opus signinum, was to prevent flooding in this part of the garden, to hold a water supply for the garden, and for use as a drain to the nearby portico that once lined the eastern side of the north garden and its adjacent room. The finds from the infill of the cistern were dazzling with large fragments of a Doric frieze constructed of super fine stucco, two types of antefixes, and part of a column constructed of wedge-shaped bricks and with stucco flutes. It was decided to excavate in the centre of the 60m swimming pool which required crowbars to remove the large basalt blocks which made up the substructure of the pool. Our daily water consumption went up from two litres a day in the shade to six litres! The reason for digging was that the ground penetrating radar had found a significant anomaly underneath the pool foundations. Unfortunately we did not find any anomaly but we did expose and record the two phases of pool construction, the eruption layers and the palaeosoils. Our attention then focused on the area immediately south of the pool. Four trenches were dug that exposed a portico at the south end of the pool, part of a wonderful marble floor of opus sectile, a room not recorded before with marble steps and a Doric column with stucco fluting still in situ. Found on these steps were copious amounts of pottery and a large piece of marble architrave with part of an acanthus scroll or volute. Our work at Villa A has gathered additional evidence that after the earthquake of AD62 large areas of the villa were badly damaged The finding of part of a column drum from the adjacent east wing in the cistern, the lifting of part of the opus sectile floor prior to the eruption of AD79, and the remodelling of the swimming pool suggest that major re-building work was being undertaken. The villa also had problems with its water supply which may suggest that the villa was not habitable at the time of the eruption in AD79.Initial GPR work had detected a series of anomalies that suggested the presence of earlier structures under the present exposed buildings. In particular the investigation suggested that the complex lay just a few metres from the ancient shoreline. The wider settlement may have been a small town (Oplontis) or a commercial harbour serving the Pompeian countryside, and will be the first of its kind discovered in the Bay of Naples area.

Work started in 2012 in the courtyard area with the aim of exposing the stratigraphy, and to examine the foundations of the building which may produce evidence of its function and chronology. We expanded the trench to the entire width of the courtyard and soon had to resort to crowbars as the original surface of the courtyard comprised large and occasionally very large basalt boulders with the gaps between boulders infilled with large sherds of amphorae. Some of these still retained residue which were bagged for analysis.

Immediately under the basalt pavement was the first of many pyroclastic flows, the first dating to the Late Bronze Age. As we excavated down we exposed and recorded sequence after sequence of eruption strata and palaeosoils dating as far back as 1500-1600BC. Some of these surfaces had carted or sled ruts along with pottery sherds and remains of mud bricks. The lowest strata were littered with Bronze Age artefacts, and suggest there was a high level of Bronze Age activity in the environs of Oplontis B.

Both ends of the trench gave an opportunity to investigate the foundation design of the colonnade which was unusual to say the least. A thick tufa stylobate sits on top of foundation blocks (sterobate) spaced to coincide with the joins between the blocks of the stylobate with the entire assemblage sitting on the same pyroclastic stratum which we found under the basalt paved courtyard. Sherds of Campania A Black Gloss pottery found in the foundation trench date the build of this colonnade to the 2nd century BC.

In 2013 we returned to this area and expanded the trench to expose a complex water system with a settling tank plus two water channels and various drains. Of some importance is the fact that this complex water system cut through two previous floor levels which suggests the function of the building may have changed through time. Another team undertook the task of removing tons of modern debris in the area of the south portico. A thankless task undertaken in the glare of the Italian sun! But well rewarded by exposing layers of volcanic debris from the eruption of AD79. Underneath this layer we found the original floor surface with numerous Neronian and Flavian coins. Below that a complex of barrel vaulted drains was exposed which will need further investigation. Our final investigation was to examine part of the street north of the main complex. Originally excavated by the Italian team in the 1980’s, who discovered a street running east to west lined on both sides with simple town houses on both sides, it is apparent that these houses have ground floor rooms, some with the foundation step of a staircase leading to upstairs rooms, and some of which have a simple shrine dedicated to the household gods. Our investigation showed that some areas of the ground floor still retained debris from the AD79 eruption and had not been excavated. Underneath we found a simple beaten earth floor, the step for a staircase, a toilet and washing area and probably a kitchen area. The road outside the house was also excavated and showed it had two construction phases which may correspond to the two identified phases of the adjacent building, the first probably dating to the 2nd century BC when the building were probably used as workshops with a wide entrance, and the second phase when the entrance was narrowed and the building turned into domestic quarters. Indeed, three houses show walled up entrances, it now became a typical Roman street that included stone benches outside of each entrance

We will be back in Oplontis in June 2017 for another season of excavation and anyone can join our team. The only criteria is that you are a member of the Kent Archaeological Field School   www.kafs.co.uk  and that you have some experience or enthusiasm for Roman archaeology, Italian food and Italian sunshine! See also the website for the project at  www.oplontisproject.org.

Week 1.   Monday 29th May to Friday 2nd June 2017 (pot washing only)
Week 2.   Monday 5th June to Friday 9th June 2017 (excavation)
Week 3.   Monday 12th June to Friday 16th June 2017 (excavation)

Fees: £175 a week (first week no fee).
Don’t forget to send information for the security pass
Please note food, accommodation, insurance, and travel are not included.
Flights to Naples are probably cheapest with EasyJet. To get to Pompeii take a bus from the Naples airport to the railway station and then the local train to Pompeii. Hotels are about 50eu for a room per night.
We are staying at are the Motel Villa dei Misteri and the Hotel degli Amici.  info@villademisteri.it info@hoteldegliamici.it  For camping (where I shall be) the site Camping Zeus is next to the hotel: info@campingzeus.it and is about 12eu a night.
Transport to Oplontis from Pompeii is not provided but most of the group use the local train (one stop). Please note it can be hot so bring sun cream and insect repellent! Any queries email me at  info@kafs.co.uk or in Naples call my mobile on 07885 700 112.
Paul Wilkinson

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Breaking News/3: Borden Roman Villa and Abbey Barns Roman building in Kent

Exciting news of fieldwork that took place in the summer of 2016 which expanded our knowledge of these two additions to the corpus of known Roman villas and estates known from the land either side of the main Roman road into Britain (Watling Street) as it passes through North Kent between Canterbury and Rochester, both Roman cities. The count now is 22 Roman villa estates with some very impressive buildings which include now two stone built Roman aisled barns, a octagonal bath house which is likely to be a Christian Baptistery and a Roman ‘cockpit’ theatre overlooking sacred springs which are still there today plus numerous winged Roman villa buildings.

The first phase of pottery from Borden has now been processed and dated by Malcolm Lyne and he says there is very little pottery pre-dating c.AD 150 and most of the material is 3rd century in date with no clear evidence for post AD 350 activity. By way of contrast the pottery data from Abbey Barns Roman villa site in Faversham has pottery from the Early Roman through to Late Roman and Early Saxon periods.
Of particular importance this year at Abbey Barns is the finding of three column bases which show clear evidence of stone built columns and not timber for the original aisled building which became a bath house and living quarters with fresco painted wall and opus sigininum floors
This year we will be excavating the remainder of the building from August 1st to 20th with a training week for would-be archaeologists from Monday 7th August. Places are limited so book early at   www.kafs.co.uk
Paul Wilkinson

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Breaking News/4: Marine archaeologists have found more than 40 ancient shipwrecks in the Black Sea

William J. Broad writes:

The medieval ship lay more than a half-mile down at the bottom of the Black Sea, its masts, timbers and planking undisturbed in the darkness for seven or eight centuries.

Lack of oxygen in the icy depths had ruled out the usual riot of creatures that feast on sunken wood.

This autumn, a team of explorers lowered a robot on a long tether, lit up the wreck with bright lights and took thousands of high-resolution photos. A computer then merged the images into a detailed portrait.

Archaeologists date the discovery to the 13th or 14th century, opening a new window on forerunners of the 15th- and 16th-century sailing vessels that discovered the New World, including those of Columbus. This medieval ship probably served the Venetian empire, which had Black Sea outposts.

Never before had this type of ship been found in such complete form. The breakthrough was the quarterdeck, from which the captain would have directed a crew of perhaps 20 sailors.

Experts said the success in Bulgarian waters might inspire other nations that control portions of the Black Sea to join the archaeological hunt. They are Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Dr. Foley, who has explored a number of Black Sea wrecks, said the sea’s overall expanse undoubtedly held tens of thousands of lost ships. “Everything that sinks out there is going to be preserved,” he added. “They’re not going away.”

For ages, the Black Sea was a busy waterway that served the Balkans, the Eurasian steppes, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Greece. It long beckoned to archaeologists because they knew its deep waters lacked oxygen, a rarity for large bodies of water.

The great rivers of Eastern Europe — the Don, the Danube, the Dnieper — pour so much fresh water into the sea that a permanent layer forms over denser, salty water from the Mediterranean. As a result, oxygen from the atmosphere that mixes readily with fresh water never penetrates the inky depths.

In 1976, Willard Bascom, a pioneer of oceanography, in his book “Deep Water, Ancient Ships,” called the Black Sea unique among the world’s seas and a top candidate for exploration and discovery. In 2002, Robert D. Ballard, a discoverer of the sunken Titanic, led a Black Sea expedition that found a 2,400-year-old wreck laden with the clay storage jars of antiquity. One held remnants of a large fish that had been dried and cut into steaks, a popular food in ancient Greece. The new team said it received exploratory permits from the Bulgarian ministries of culture and foreign affairs and limited its Black Sea hunts to parts of that nation’s exclusive economic zone, which covers thousands of square miles and runs up to roughly a mile deep.

A photogrammetric image of a Byzantine wreck, dating perhaps to the ninth century. Superimposed is an image of one of the expedition’s tethered robots that photographed the lost ships. Credit Expedition and Education Foundation/Black Sea MAP

Although the team’s official name is the  Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project  , or Black Sea MAP, it also hauls up sediments to hunt for clues to how the sea’s rising waters engulfed former land surfaces and human settlements. Team members listed on its website include the Bulgarian National Institute of Archaeology, the Bulgarian Center for Underwater Archaeology, Sodertorn University in Sweden, and the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in Greece.

A photogrammetric image of the stern of the Ottoman-era ship showing coils of rope and a tiller with elaborate carvings. A lack of oxygen at the icy depths of the Black Sea left the wrecks relatively undisturbed. Credit Expedition and Education Foundation/Black Sea MAP

Photograph of the Month is:
‘Swamp Ghost’

Aviation archaeology is not for everyone but this particular B-17E Flying Fortress was found in a swamp in Papua New Guinea by the Australian Air Force in 1972 and salvaged by David Tallichet and Alfred Hagen in 2010 and transported back to the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbour in April 2013. Piloted by Captain Fred Eaton it was returning from a bombing raid in 1942 when it crash landed. The crew survived and it took them six weeks to walk out of the jungle.

Book of the Month is:
The Making of the British Landscape by Nicholas Crane

Around 12,000 years ago Britain was still connected to the mainland of Europe. Glaciers covered much of the north while the south was an arid wind-blasted tundra with grasses, mosses and low shrubs. Around 9700 BC, it became a little warmer, and that’s where Nicholas Crane’s story begins. As he argues in this ambitious, magnificent book, Britain’s destiny was shaped to a surprising degree by the sun and by southerners. It’s a tale of stops and starts – devastating at times, uplifting at others.

As temperatures rose, the ice melted, greenhouse gases surged and Britain became greener. Crane, an explorer and geographer, writes evocatively about this changing landscape. “Relieved of its burden, the Earth’s crust sprang slowly upward in the far north,” while the coastline of the south was reconfigured by rising sea levels. River courses altered, trees grew taller and animals such as deer and boars arrived.

With them came the woodland people who, unlike the early hunters, lived in large groups and stayed for a while in one place. They brought tools and made flames with wooden fire drills. Britain’s geology provided them with a vast array of stones, which in turn produced a new sound: “a rhythmic knocking accompanied by high-pitched tinkling” – the sound of the woodland people fashioning them into tools and objects. Meanwhile Doggerland, the area that connected Britain to the continent, was facing the onslaught of rising seas; its inhabitants marched west to escape. Britain has always been a land of migrants.

The first “little ice age” hit around 6700BC. About 500 years later, a huge North American lake broke through its dam and dumped such a huge amount of fresh water into the Atlantic that the Gulf Stream shut down. Temperatures plummeted, trees died, sea water pushed into rivers and Britain’s landscape changed again. Only 200 years later – a geological blink – a tsunami crashed over Doggerland. Britain became an island and isolated. Two thousand years later it was nearly inhabited, and then the climate changed again. The next wave of immigrants arrived – the “house people”, who crossed the channel in their boats and built the first rectangular houses.

They bred animals, grew grains, cleared forests and sculpted the land, leaving traces of human activity on the landscape. Crane describes growing populations, Stonehenge and new materials – copper, iron, bronze. “Technology ages landscapes,” he writes, as ore was hacked out of the land and enormous numbers of trees were used for smelting. By 1000 BC, more of the south of Britain was patterned by rectangular fields – in Dartmoor, for example, a grid covered 3,000 hectares. Then another little ice age hit. Then it got warmer again. And so it goes, up and down. Forts were built, and later lowland settlements, goods arrived by ship, and raw materials left the island.

The Emperor Claudius invaded Britain in AD43, he came, Crane says, with “an army of psychopathic builders” and the British landscape was soon altered beyond recognition. Camps and towns were built along gridded streets. Trees were felled, turf was cut, ditches dug and streams diverted to lace the island with roads. Within four generations, Britain had 24 major cities, palaces, amphitheatres, mosaic flooring and hot baths. It was warm and the soil produced food. And then the climate changed once more.

Crane is excellent at describing climate, geology and shifting shorelines, but is at his best when plaiting together earth-shaping events with humankind and civilisation. The end of the Romans in Britain, for example, was linked to a 40-year drought in inner Asia, which started in 338 and pushed the nomadic Huns westwards, who in turn drove the Goths into the Roman empire. With their hands full on the continent, the Romans had problems defending Britain and trade routes were affected. Britain was attacked, looted and robbed. Taxes were raised, which meant people couldn’t afford goods any more, and production slowed: “life leeched from British towns”. By 407, the Romans had left and an air of disrepair veiled the south.

Crane takes his readers from the farmed countryside and the urban boom of the Norman conquest to the freeze in the early 1300s, which was rapidly followed by rains and famines – and then the first wave of the Black Death in 1348 (after which came several more). As the population fell from 6 million in 1300 to 2.4 million in the 1440s, the landscape changed again: villages were abandoned and fields left unploughed.

On behalf of Henry VIII, the marvellous John Leland surveyed the treasures in monastic libraries but did much more. As he zigzagged the island, he read the “landscapes as stories”, stumbling over Roman ruins and ancient earthworks. We also meet the Dutch engineer who drained British wetlands, and Daniel Defoe complaining about the terrible state of roads and the weather: “Hannibal himself,” he said, “would have found it impossible to have marched his army.” Bridges, docks, canals, enclosures, fertilisers and steam all take the stage in later chapters. Railway fever, Crane writes, moved more earth than any previous construction scheme: hills were cut, tunnels dug, embankments and bridges built – all to overcome the “unhelpful undulations” of Britain’s landscape.

This book is in part about urbanisation, from the first communal settlements to industrial cities of the 19th century. In the last decade of the 16th century, a young Scottish cartographer marked on his map the most north-westerly part of mainland Britain an area of “Extreem Wilderness”: it was the last wilderness left on an increasingly populated island. Crane writes: “to care about a place, you must know its story”. He has given us this story.

Andrea Wulf

• Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature has won the Royal Society’s science book prize and the Costa biography award. The Making of the British Landscape is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. To order a copy for £16.40 (RRP £20) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.

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Research News:  Aerial survey of Kent. Paul Wilkinson reports on a research project by the Kent Archaeological Field School

‘If you are studying the development of the landscape in an area, almost any air photograph is likely to contain a useful piece of information’
(Interpreting the Landscape from the Air, Mick Aston, 2002).

Students of the KAFS have started a two year programme of collating Google Earth aerial photographs from 1940 to 2013 to enable focused information which can then be followed up by ground survey. The fruitfulness of this can be appreciated by the work of the field school along Watling Street in North Kent where hundreds of important archaeological sites have been identified. The ultimate aim is to publish the results online. Aerial photography is one of the most important remote sensing tools available to archaeologists.
The aerial survey is now completed and the next phase of research is a programme of field walking for 2017. KAFS members who wish to participate are invited to contact the Director of the Field School and arrangements can be put in place.

Paul Wilkinson

AP 65980/07

AP 3257/07

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Courses at the Kent Archaeological Field School for 2017 include:

May Bank Holiday Saturday 27th May to Monday 29th
May 2017: An Introduction to Archaeological Field Walking and test pitting on the site of a newly discovered Roman Villa at Sittingbourne

On this Bank Holiday weekend for we shall look at the ways in which archaeological sites are found. Field walking techniques will be tested in the field and test pits dug to confirm the extent of the Roman villa at Borden. Cost £25 for the week for non members, members free.

Digging at Deerton Street Roman villa

May 29th to June 16th 2017 excavating at 'Villa B' at Oplontis next to Pompeii in Italy

We will be spending three weeks in association with the University of Texas investigating the Roman Emporium (Villa B) at Oplontis next to Pompeii. The site offers a unique opportunity to dig on iconic World Heritage Site in Italy and is a wonderful once in a lifetime opportunity. Cost is £175 a week which does not include board or food but details of where to stay are available (Camping is 12EU a day and the adjacent hotel 50EU or Airbnb).

Email Paul Wilkinson at info@swatarchaeology.co.uk for further details

KAFS members at Oplontis B Roman palace

August 1st to 20th 2017. The Investigation of a substantial Roman Building at Faversham in Kent

Three weeks investigating a substantial Roman building to find out its form and function. This is an important Roman building and part of a larger Roman villa complex which may have its own harbour. One of the research questions we will be tackling is the buildings marine association with the nearby tidal waterway. Cost for the day £10 (Members free).

August 7th to August 13th 2017 Training Week for Students on a Roman Building at Faversham in Kent

It is essential that anyone thinking of digging on an archaeological site is trained in the procedures used in professional archaeology. Dr Paul Wilkinson, author of the best selling "Archaeology" book and Director of the dig, will spend five days explaining to participants the methods used in modern archaeology. A typical training day will be classroom theory in the morning (at the Field School) followed by excavation at a Roman villa near Faversham.

Coin from Roman building at Faversham

Topics taught each day are:

Monday 7th August: Why dig?
Tuesday 8th August: Excavation Techniques
Wednesday 9th August: Site Survey
Thursday 10th August: Archaeological Recording
Friday 11th August: Pottery identification
Saturday and Sunday (free) digging with the team

A free PDF copy of "Archaeology" 3rd Edition will be given to participants. Cost for the course is £100 if membership is taken out at the time of booking. Non-members £125. Certificate of Attendance. The day starts at 10am and finishes at 4.30pm. For directions to the Field School see 'Where ' on this website. For camping nearby see 'accommodation' in www.kafs.co.uk

September 4th to 17th 2017. Investigation of Prehistoric features at Hollingbourne in Kent

An opportunity to participate in excavating and recording prehistoric features in the landscape. The week is to be spent in excavating Bronze and Iron Age features located with aerial photography and Geophysical survey. Cost is £10 a day for non-members, members free.

The Kent Archaeological Field School, School Farm Oast,

Graveney Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8UP

Tel: 01795 532548 Email:  info@kafs.co.uk 

Director Dr Paul Wilkinson


You can download the KAFS booking form for all of our forthcoming courses directly from our website, or  by clicking here 


You can download the KAFS membership form directly from our website, or  by clicking here 

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