Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

“Ik spreek geen Vlaams” at Oostende voor Anker festival!

July 6th, 2016

Marion Green writes: Anticipating talking to hundreds of Flemish visitors about the Bronze Age boat replica at this marine festival at the end of May, like a good teacher I did some prep. With the help of Flemish Kristien, one of our newest excavators at the Trust, I put together a few sentences. Trying the native language always goes down well and some English vocabulary relating to the boat was very similar in Flemish. Most of our festival visitors were happy to speak French or English though and these were our languages of choice for three days.

As we found in Boulogne-sur-Mer last year, people were enthralled by the story of the Dover boat discovery and in awe of the imagination and skills of our ancestors – demonstrated so well by the wonderful replica vessel, an experimental archaeology exercise for the European project ‘Boat 1550 BC’.

We could confidently deal with questions about the technologies involved in making both the boat and the tools used while ‘Do you know if the original boat was made in England, France or Flanders?’ or ‘Do you think they all spoke the same language back then?’ were questions we couldn’t answer – but we could muse over them together.
Replica Bronze Age boat in OstendReplica Bronze Age boat in OstendReplica Bronze Age boat in Ostend
People remarked on how important it is to do such work – recovering the original boat and using the replica to demonstrate the capabilities of people 3,500 years ago and perhaps influence some modern misconceptions about our prehistoric ancestors. Further, people were fascinated to hear about the archaeological evidence we have for links between the lands we now know as south- east England, Northern France and Flanders over 3,000 years ago. The same kinds of tools, pottery etc found on sites in these three areas demonstrate communication between their peoples and it is quite possible that the original Dover boat – and others like it – enabled this.

Encouraging an awareness of this bond in the past among 21st century communities on either side of the Channel was at the heart of the ‘Boat 1550 BC’ project … and actively promoting the original and replica boat at occasions like the Boulogne and Oostend festivals really does enhance this giving a fantastic opportunity for lots of positive engagement. People seem to genuinely benefit from the experience.

We certainly flew the flag for Dover Museum and the Dover Boat Gallery over the three days so museum staff might like to try this out … “Dit is een boot uit de Bronstijd”.

Midsummer digging in Sandwich and Canterbury

June 15th, 2016

‘Digging into Sandwich’s past’ started today on Cow Leas Meadow and will continue until 25th June. For how to volunteer contact Dover District Council on 01304 872274 or email them ( Or go along and have a look – especially on the ‘open days’, Saturday 18th and 25th.
The trenches are opened ...
And from Monday a small team will return to the Westgate Gardens to resume the community dig focussed on Roman Watling Street where it crosses the park.  This will be the final dig for the Heritage Lottery Fund/Canterbury City Council Westgate Parks Project. Excavation will be on a slightly smaller scale this year, targeting the connection between the early road and roadside building platforms uncovered in previous years.  Jake Weekes and colleagues will be happy to explain what has been discovered as the week progresses. Just drop by and give Jake a shout.

On Saturday 25th, as part of the Westgate Parks Open Day, volunteers are welcome to come and try some ‘pot washing’. Come and have a go at cleaning some of the artefacts discovered during this year’s excavation. Everyone is welcome, as you can see from these photos from last year!
Westgate Gardens Community DigWestgate Community DigWestgate Gardens Community Dig

Digging into the History of Sandwich

June 6th, 2016

A chance for you to take part in an archaeological dig in Sandwich!

Volunteers are being sought to take part in an excavation from 15–25 June.

The dig is funded by the Coastal Revival Fund as part of a project involving Dover District Council, the Canterbury Archaeological Trust and Sandwich Town Council to learn more about medieval Sandwich.  The project aims to learn more about the activity of the Whitefriars, who were Carmelite Friars and whose Friary pre-dates both the ancient town walls and town ditch. The dig will help to confirm whether or not the grounds of the Friary extended into what is now the Cow Leas Meadow.
Sandwich Uncovered
The dig will complement other ongoing history projects related to the Sandwich Friars. The Sandwich Heritage Group will be hosting a free talk at the Sandwich Guildhall on 8 June at 7.30pm and invite anyone who would like to learn more about any of these projects to come along. The talk will involve our own Keith Parfitt who will be leading the dig on the Cow Leas Meadow, and the talk will review the current state of research on the Whitefriars and the rediscovery of the convent well at Woodnesborough.

If you would like to volunteer either phone Dover District Council on 01304 872274 or email:

East Wear Bay Archaeological Field School

May 11th, 2016

Free training places

We are pleased to announce that due to a generous grant by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, we are able to offer a limited number of free training places for Kent-based 16–24 year olds at the East Wear Bay Archaeological Field School this Summer. The Field School runs this year from 11th July to 6th August (more details here). If you’d like to take advantage of this opportunity, or know someone who would, please contact
East Wear Bay Archaeological Field SchoolEast Wear Bay Archaeological Field SchoolEast Wear Bay Archaeological Field School
Hope to see you there!

40years: exhibition a great success

April 27th, 2016

The exhibition at the Beaney has now closed. It was a job well done and successfully showed the extent and quality of the Trust’s work to a wide audience, as the many appreciative comments from among the 7,000+ visitors show. Here are a few:

‘Excellent, very informative overview of CAT’s work and the significance of its achievements – long may it continue.’
‘The CAT exhibition manages the almost impossible – a very successful snapshot of 40 years work. Well done, I hope it has inspired a new generation to become involved and hands on!’
‘Small but beautiful! A lot of very well put together, informative displays/info. Perfect complement to library and museum. Thanks!’
‘A well composed exhibition. Really great to see some of your special finds face to face. A fine body of work the effort shows in the finished product. Well done everyone.’

The Friends manned the exhibition for the vast majority of the 249 hours of opening. They did a fantastic job, the shifts ran like clockwork and they enjoyed themselves. Staff at the Beaney were also impressed by the whole event and it was a pleasure to liaise with those front-of-house staff who supported in various ways during the run.
40years volunteers40years visitors

Calling Kent Archaeological Society members

April 21st, 2016

As you all know, following the sad death of Ian Coulson, the election for a new president for the Kent Archaeological Society will take place shortly. Canterbury Archaeological Trust stands firmly behind Gerald Cramp for President.  Click here to read his message to members.

Sold out, but more coming soon

April 19th, 2016

Quadrans novus

All of our Public Talks hosted by the Beaney during the exhibition 40years: Canterbury Archaeological Trust have sold out!  Jake’s talk on work in the Westgate Parks and Paul’s whistle-stop tour of the first 40 years of the Trust were both enthusiastically received and the third talk will no doubt be just as fascinating.

Andy Linklater will present the final talk in the series on Thursday 21 April, telling the story of the discovery of a quadrans novus at the House of Agnes in St Dunstan’s Street. The object is very rare; Canterbury’s is only the seventh known in the world. The instrument itself is now at the British Museum, but a replica has been loaned to the exhibition.

We hope to repeat each of the talks later in this 40th year.

4,300 visitors and rising

April 12th, 2016

40years: Canterbury Archaeological Trust
Two weeks into the exhibition and not only has the number of visitors been great, their comments have made all the hard work worthwhile.  A few from the opening weekend:

‘An amazing display.  Interesting and inspiring.’

‘So much information: so much discovery’

‘A vivid record of work in an inspiring archaeological area!’

Do visit.  We close on the 24th April.  40years: Canterbury Archaeological Trust.  Front Room, Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, High Street, Canterbury.

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