Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Slatters Hotel, St Margaret’s Street

Work has now started at the former Slatters Hotel site. After a period of machine work, during which the modern levels were removed, a team of archaeologists is now excavating the archaeological sequence. We know that the site is going to contain some remarkable remains – the Roman theatre lies under the junction of Watling Street, Castle Street and St Margaret’s Street, and part of it extends as far as the north-west corner of the development site. Unfortunately, this incredible structure will not be revealed by the work, at it is overlain by the Listed Building being renovated as part of the development scheme, but we will find buildings which lie close by. The series of excavations undertaken as part of the Marlowe development, in the late 1970s/early 1980s, uncovered an amazing sequence of Roman levels which will certainly extend into our present site. We have already emptied a modern pit to reveal a Roman wall.

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It is not only Roman levels that we hope to discover, however. Perhaps even more interesting will be Anglo-Saxon remains. We know that the Roman theatre remained a focus for occupation into the Anglo-Saxon period, perhaps being used as a market or meeting place. It must have been an incredible edifice in the Anglo-Saxon town, looming above the wooden structures of the inhabitants. We are keen to explore what type of buildings would have lain close by during this period – high status buildings, or domestic structures similar to those seen elsewhere in Canterbury.

Uppermost will be the medieval horizons, probably associated with buildings which once fronted St Margaret’s Street. Unfortunately these principal buildings have gone, removed by cellars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but structures which once stood to their rear – kitchens, workshops, etc, – together with pits and refuse deposits, will provide evidence of the type of occupation which once existed in this area of Canterbury.

We have six months to uncover these remains.

If you want to see the archaeologists at work watch them via these live camera feeds …

Camera 1  |  Camera 3

Alison Hicks,
26th June 2018

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