Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Bursary applications open soon

February 14th, 2018

Ian Coulson, A Town Unearthed 2011
It’s chilly now, but spring IS coming and with it the opening of applications for the Ian Coulson Annual Bursary for Local History and Archaeology in Kent Schools.

Teachers at St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School, Gravesend, winners of the 2017 bursary, are currently developing a local history project with their pupils based on the First World War. Using as a starting point the names on their local war memorial, they are carrying out research to produce biographies of soldiers from their local area. With the help of local historians and surviving family members, pupils are using a variety of sources including local newspapers, census returns and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. A visit to the First World War battlefields and cemeteries is an integral part of the project.

Applications for the 2018 bursary will be accepted April 1st – June 30th. More details and application forms can be found here.

Theft and vandalism

February 5th, 2018

Sadly we have to report a series of break-ins and thefts from our main archive at Kingsmead in Canterbury. Apart from causing considerable damage and chaos, the thieves took over 850 Anglo-Saxon glass beads, large quantities of coins and metal artefacts, and an assortment of bone objects. They ransacked our educational loans collection, disturbing 90% of the 200 loan boxes, and stealing replica metal axes, pins, coins and other items, including a plaster bust of Queen Victoria – not valuable, but very identifiable. They also stole tools and equipment. Please spread the word, and look out for any of these items being offered for sale. Andrew Richardson will be happy to hear from anyone with any information.
Burglary_storeBurglary_Anglo_Saxon_bead Burglary_Anglo_Saxon_beads
Ransacked Education Store Replica Bronze Age axe Replica Roman glass flagon
Since news of the thefts hit the media last week we have been overwhelmed with messages of support. One supporter has set up a fundraising page to help to at least replace some of the tools lost in the raid. We are very grateful to her and, of course, to all those who have donated so far. Thank you.

Medieval Canterbury Weekend – book now!

January 16th, 2018

Medieval Canterbury Weekend
Medieval Canterbury Weekend brings eminent scholars and popular historians to Canterbury, a place of international significance in the medieval world. In 2016, this series of talks and guided visits brought over a thousand people together to share their love of all things medieval. The weekend is hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University and organised by the Centre for Kent History and Heritage in support of the Ian Coulson Memorial Postgraduate Award fund.

Trust Director, Dr Paul Bennett, is guiding visits at St Mildred’s Church and then the Poor Priests’ Hospital in Stour Street on Saturday Saturday 7 April. The church visit is already fully booked, but there are still a few places left on the visit to the Poor Priests’ Hospital. Book now to avoid disappointment!

St Albans Cathedral – update

January 16th, 2018

The excavation of the ‘Monks Graveyard’ on the east side of the cathedral has now revealed nine burials probably dating to the twelfth century. The burials are characterised by graves which are anthropomorphic (shaped in the silhouette of a human body) and the buried individuals would have been tightly wrapped in a shroud, as was the custom of the time. Later burials which have been excavated have almost always been within a coffin.

At least two of the burials lay in tombs lined with Roman tile and brick, and one individual lay in a tomb of chalk blocks. The burials within the tombs are so far clustered outside the demolished Norman apse. The foundations of this are still visible and remain to be excavated. The proximity of the graves to this part of the cathedral suggests that the people buried within were important to the cathedral in some way, although further research might confirm this. We do not think at this time that these people were monks as area was given the name ‘Monks Graveyard’ in the Victorian period and may not be accurate.

The photos show:
An early burial in a tile-lined tomb.
An excavated grave with tile and chalk lining. The grey tile at the top acted as a ‘pillow’.
Planning one of the tile-lined tomb burials.

Further burials of this date are expected as the excavation continues.
St Albans Cathedral, Monks GraveyardSt Albans Cathedral, Monks GraveyardSt Albans Cathedral, Monks Graveyard
You can read more about the excavation here.

Watch the archaeologists

January 15th, 2018

Watch the excavation at Slatters Hotel as the team digs down. A viewing platform will be open to the public later on in the project.

Camera 1  |  Camera 3

Mystery of the rosary beads

January 2nd, 2018

St Albans glass beads
These blue glass beads were discovered in one of the graves excavated at St Albans and, as reported by BBCNews, they pose quite a puzzle.

All set for Slatters 2018

December 19th, 2017

Machining is complete at the Slatters site and hand excavation has begun. Click on the image above to see scope for things to come. Joint Project Manager, Alison Hicks, gives an update here.

We can see some tantalising Roman remains in the side of a deep pit, but for now most of the site is on the medieval horizons. There are walls, hearths, ovens, floors and pits, all of which will require meticulous dismantling and recording over the coming weeks – weather permitting!

Watch the excavation  Camera 1  |  Camera 3.

Waitrose supports Education work

December 11th, 2017

Education resources
Through their Community Matters scheme, Waitrose has donated £264 to the Trust’s development of resources for schools.

If you’re a Waitrose shopper, you will know that when you shop in-store you are given a green token to put in one of three ‘good causes’ boxes near the exit. The more tokens an organisation gets, the bigger the donation they receive. Each month every Waitrose branch donates £1,000 between three chosen local causes and last month the Trust was one of these. So thank you very much Waitrose!

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