Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Boat 1550 BC Project: The Launch

April 30th, 2012

Saturday 12th May at Dover Sea Sports Centre

Starts at 1 pm – Weather Permitting
Work on the replica boat has been progressing steadily these last few weeks and we are now looking forward to the launch before it begins its journey to the exhibition in Lille. The event starts at 1pm and there will be a chance to talk to the boat builders and the excavators of the original boat before the launch at 2pm off the Sea Centre Slipway. The original Dover Boat celebrates the 20th anniversary of its discovery this September, so watch this space for more events coming up throughout the year.

Come and see the boat builders in action every Wednesday and Saturday on the lawn behind Dover Library (the entrance is off Cannon Street, look out for the signs).
A selection of replica toolsThe base of the boat comes together

Life in Canterbury at the time of the Viking siege

September 27th, 2011

The last in a series of special events to mark the Viking siege of Canterbury in September 1011

Canterbury Heritage Museum, Stour Street
Thursday 29 September, 7.30 pm
An illustrated talk by Paul Bennett based on archaeological finds from Canterbury. With objects to see and touch.
Admission £6.00, including refreshments.
Advance booking only. Telephone 01227 475202. For adults and children age 12 plus.
Organised by Canterbury Museums and Canterbury Archaeological Trust

CAT Education Service at Folkestone Roman Villa 2011

August 15th, 2011

“A rare and exciting opportunity to see in action how we learn about the past”

In July over 400 local schoolchildren and teachers visited the excavation taking place on the site of the Roman Villa at East Cliff, Folkestone. The excavation forms part of the ‘A Town Unearthed: Folkestone before 1500’ community project. Visits to the site were organised and supervised by CAT Education Officer Marion Green, who was ably assisted by ATU volunteers Yvonne Hutchcraft, Pat Cocks, Roma Mortimer, David Paton, Daniel Harris and Iain Neilson.

Before coming to the site, the children had introductory talks in school which prepared them for their visit.
A Roman coin of ConstantiusRoma Mortimer, project volunteer, with Pent Valley Technical College studentsVisitors portakabin
This year’s visits, which allowed the children to see discoveries made early in the second season of digging, followed the highly successful programme of school visits to the site that took place in September 2010.  They were able to view the remains of the villa, see a display of finds from the site, see some of these being washed, and talk to volunteers and professional archaeologists working on the site.
A Roman key - the key to the villa?Enjoying the villaYvonne Hutchcraft, project volunteer, with young visitors
Teachers said about the visits:

“A rare and exciting opportunity to see in action how we learn about the past”

“Excellent and informative, very friendly and interesting staff”


Children said that they had learned:

“That we are walking on history”

“About how people lived”

“Archaeology isn’t just about finding big things”
Bread made by project volunteer Pat Cocks from quern-ground flourLearning fieldwork skills on Work Experience

In addition to the school visits, a number of older school students from various parts of Kent were able to dig on the site and help with finds processing as part of their work experience placements.

Excavation takes place seven days a week and the site will be open daily to visitors until the end of August, between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm. A small display of finds and information boards can be seen in the visitors portakabin.

A Town Unearthed: Folkestone before 1500, is a three-year project of community archaeology organised by Canterbury Christ Church University, the Folkestone People’s History Centre and Canterbury Archaeological Trust. It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, Folkestone Town Council, Kent Archaeological Society, Kent County Council, Shepway District Council and the Tory Family Foundation.

Boat 1550 BC project

July 27th, 2011

As part of the Boat 1550 BC  project, handling kits of original archaeological material and replicas will be built in the three participating countries. These will be used by schools and interest groups. Graham Taylor, potter and experimental archaeologist based in Northumberland, has already produced 60 replica Bronze Age ‘beakers’ for the Kent kits.Graham based his beaker on one found at St Margaret’s Bay near Dover. He describes the process of production:

‘As with original Bronze Age beakers, the clay has been carefully selected, mixed with fine grit to create a material that is plastic enough to form into a thin walled pot, but coarse enough to withstand the rigors of the firing.  The pot has been hand formed from a single ball of clay, starting by ‘pinching’ out a shallow thick bowl, then working steadily round and round the pot, drawing up the clay until the required height is reached.  Once this is done the pot is shaped by forming it into the palm of my right hand with the fingers of my left hand inside the vessel.  Once I have achieved a satisfactory shape I set the pot aside to dry overnight.  In the morning the clay has reached a leather hard state and using the wetted palm of my hand I work over the entire outer surface to raise up a ‘slip’ of wet clay which will form a smooth surface over the entire pot.
Replica Bronze Age beakersReplica Bronze Age beakersFiring the pots
Once this has been left to dry for an hour or so, the decoration is applied using a small slate or bone decorating comb.  The pattern is built up by pressing the comb into the surface approximately 560 times for each beaker.  This pattern also requires small circular impressions, about 130 of them, made with a hollow bird bone.  About 700 individual impressions, along with the careful organisation of the pattern, make the decoration far more time-consuming than the making. It’s now time for the pot to dry and this must be thorough to avoid steam blowing the clay apart in the fire, so it rests for about a week to ten days in a warm dry place.  The firing itself is done in an open fire, first the beaker is placed over a few bits of glowing charcoal to ‘preheat’ slowly raising the temperature over a few hours until the pot is at about 400°C.  At this point the fire can be allowed to flame and over the next hour wood is added to the fire to make the pot red hot and bring its temperature up to about 800°C.

Finally, the pot is cleaned and a surface finish of bees wax is applied.’

To see Graham at work: video 1 | video 2

A One-day Workshop

June 14th, 2011

KAS Historic Buildings Committee and the Wye Rural Museum Trust


on SATURDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2011, 10.00 – 16.00


Workshops running on the day (morning & afternoon):

  • Understanding timber framing and construction – led by Jane Wade MFA, GradDipConsAA (Barn)
  • Reading and interpreting a building – led by Peter Seary of Canterbury Archaeological Trust (Church)
  • Recording a building – led by George Denny RIBA (Oasthouse)

In addition Sheila Sweetinburgh will lead a discussion on documentary sources, with examples, relating to historic buildings (lunch period)

The day will be run in a morning and afternoon session, the workshops repeated in both sessions.

When applying for tickets please state preference for TWO workshops. Every endeavour will be made to ensure participants get their choice but this may not always be possible due to limitations of space and numbers etc. So early booking recommended.

TICKETS: £12 (you are advised to bring a packed lunch)

Further details & to book (before 31st August): see application form on the Kent Archaeology Society website or direct from Mike Clinch: 2 Parkhurst Rd, Bexley, Kent, DA5 1AR; or 01322 526425.

Wye Rural MuseumWye Rural MuseumWye Rural Museum

Boat 1550 BC project

May 18th, 2011

We recently received notice that the European Union has agreed to fund the ‘Boat 1550 BC’ project.  This is a 1.9 million euro project (c. £1,700,000) that aims to enhance understanding and appreciation of the common cultural heritage shared by communities lying on either side of the English Channel.  It will achieve this in a number of ways; the creation of a major international exhibition that will move between each of the three participatory nations in 2012/2013; an extensive programme of educational and outreach activities focussing on cross-border co-operation and participation; and the construction of a replica of the Dover Bronze Age boat as a celebration of the technological skills of our Bronze Age ancestors and a symbol of the maritime links that brought together the prehistoric communities of the Transmanche area.

The Trust is undertaking this work in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Lille 3, Ghent University, INRAP (the French national archaeology service), the Conseil general du Pas-de-Calais, the town of Boulogne-sur-Mer and the British Museum.

It has taken several years of planning and negotiation to set this project up, with no guarantee of success, so I am very pleased to report we have finally secured approval.  It means that the Trust will take a major role in a high-status international endeavour, with all that means in terms of exposure of the Trust to a wider audience, the development of better links with our archaeological colleagues across the water, and the fulfilment of our charitable aims through greatly enhanced education and outreach activities.
Dover Bronze Age BoatDover Bronze Age Boat

Canterbury Climate & Fair Trade Market

May 16th, 2011

Winning raffle ticket is No. 82.  Please contact Marion Green at CAT to claim your prize worth over £40 (copies of Roman Canterbury and Medieval Canterbury, Waterstones gift voucher, membership of Friends of CAT for one year).

You can call in to collect the prize (location map at ) or we can post to you.

Either way you will need to show us your winning ticket

Thanks to all of you who stopped by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust stall at the week end.  It was good to talk to you and spread the word about our work.

01227 825251

Canterbury Climate & Fair Trade Market

May 12th, 2011

Canterbury Archaeological Trust will have a stall at the Canterbury Climate & Fair Trade Market
in St George’s Street, Canterbury this weekend.

Saturday 14th, 9am to 5pm

Sunday 15th May, 10am to 4pm

Come and see us. FREE RAFFLE

Campaign stalls, entertainers, Fairtrade and organic produce stalls and displays stretching along The Parade and St George’s Street between Rose Lane and the Clock tower.

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