Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Our Libyan friends

February 26th, 2015

The Trust has recently been playing host to four colleagues from Libya; Ahmed Emrage of the University of Benghazi and Fadl Abdulaziz, Akram Masri and Moataz Al Zwai of the Department of Antiquities. They have been engaged in a range of activities and training with Trust staff  – all as part of an initiative to complete the excavation of the Haua Cave in Cyrenaica.

The cave has long been regarded as one of the most significant for prehistoric occupation in North Africa, and arguably one of the most important ancient caves in the world. It was first identified as such in the early 1950s by a Cambridge University team led by Charles McBurney. A 14m deep excavation located at the centre of the cave revealed a near continuous sequence of deposits extending back to the Middle Palaeolithic, thought then to date to approximately 80,000 years ago, ending with Neolithic remains 7,000 years old, with Greek, Roman and Arab levels testifying to more recent use. The Haua has been used by a local family to pen domesticated animals for generations and, during difficult times, for habitation.

A new phase of work in the cave began in 2007 under the direction of Professor Graeme Barker, also of Cambridge University, and is on-going. Staff from the Trust, with Paul Bennett, have assisted in recent years, but the deteriorating security situation in Libya means that work has halted – for the time being.

It is hoped that our friends from the Department of Antiquities of Libya will resume work in April with excavation monitored from Canterbury and Cambridge via Skype and phone conferencing.
Sieving with Alex VokesSurveying with Ross LaneCourse completed

Why does Faversham have its Magna Carta?

February 16th, 2015

Throughout 2015 there will be celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Kent History and Library Centre start their celebrations with a talk by Peter Tann on why Faversham has its own Magna Carta. This will be an examination of one of Kent’s most important documents, set in the context of Faversham’s surviving medieval charters.

The talk takes place at 6.30pm on Thursday 5th March. Tickets are £3, available from Kent History and Library Centre, 03000 420203, or email

What is the ‘layer cake of history’?

February 9th, 2015

Unlock the secrets of the layer cake of history. It might sound a trifle daunting, but this course will show you how to combine the various ingredients of an excavation in a recipe that will give perfect results – every time!

Understanding and Recording Stratigraphy: Saturday 28 February 2015

For more details and booking go to our Archaeology Courses page.
Layer cake

The Archaeology of Death

February 2nd, 2015

Our next Archaeology Course takes place on Saturday 7th February.  What do we do when we come across burials on site? How are they recorded? What can they tell us? Osteologist Sarah Gearey will explain how archaeologists handle human skeletal material and Jake Weekes will explore how the visible remains of funeral ceremonies can shed light on the life, and death, of past communities.  For more information or to book one of the last few places, click here.
Archaeology of Death

For those who missed it

January 29th, 2015

For those of us who weren’t lucky enough to travel to Edinburgh just after Hogmanay, Peter Clark has provided this screencast of his lecture to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

The Annual Lecture

January 27th, 2015

Paul Bennett will deliver his annual round up of the Trust’s year next Saturday, 31st January.  ‘The Frank Jenkins Memorial Lecture’ will begin at 6.00pm in the Michael Berry Lecture Theatre, Old Sessions House, Longport.  Another eventful year, not only in the field and unseen corners of ancient buildings, but also on the high seas!

To help support our work, the Friends of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust request a donation of £2.00 from members, £3.00 non-members and £1.00 from students.
Frank Jenkins Memorial Lecture

Back to the ‘Old Stone Age’ in Westgate Parks

January 20th, 2015

On Tuesday, February 10th Dr Francis Wenban-Smith is coming to Canterbury’s Guildhall to talk about the Stour Basin Palaeolithic Project.  The evening is hosted by the Westgate Parks Project. Jake Weekes will talk about how the Stour Basin project fits into the ’Landscapes and Ecologies, Past and Present’ theme at Westgate Parks.  It is hoped that this will be the first in a series of talks about the hidden heritage of the park and its wider relevance to our understanding of the past. What better place to start than the very earliest Stone Age, the Palaeolithic?

The talk is free and begins at 6.00 pm. To help with ‘housekeeping’, please email either Jake ( or Anna ( if you would like to attend.
Stour Basin Palaeolithic Project

First Steps in Archaeology

January 15th, 2015

If you want to delve a bit deeper into archaeology, why not try one of our day courses?

The next one is this Saturday 17th January, an entry level course entitled ‘First Steps in Archaeology’. Our programme of courses up until March can be found here. There are still a few places available for Saturday’s course.

As well as the chance to learn from members of our highly experienced professional team and to handle genuine finds, you will receive a course booklet and be awarded a certificate. A new programme of courses will commence in September, and we will be running a training excavation at East Wear Bay, Folkestone, in July and August… more details in due course so watch this space!
First steps

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