Claxfield Farm, Lynsted
The Trust is currently investigating remains uncovered at Claxfield Farm at Lower Lynsted near Teynham prior to Brickearth extraction. This represents the sixth season of work on farmland here and the first in which substantial remains have been discovered.
The earliest feature on the site appears to be a small barrow, some 7.5m in diameter, of Bronze Age date. This is heavily truncated by later ditches and these have removed the central area where any burial might have been located. A single cremation, contained within a middle Bronze Age Deverel-Rimbury pot, was cut into the side of the barrow ditch.
The barrow appears to have remained a feature into the Iron Age at which point a large north-west to south-east aligned ditch was cut across its northern half. This feature may form part of a wider Iron Age landscape hinted at by the presence of a light scatter of features identified last year to the south of the present area.
The majority of features are clearly medieval and cover an area some 50m in length. They lie to the south of a substantial ditch that cuts both the Iron Age ditch and the earlier barrow. This suggests that either the barrow, or the Iron Age ditch (or both!) remained a feature in the landscape through to this period. Generally the features in this area have been very hard to identify due to the presence of a layer of colluvium (hillwash) that seems to have developed during the later prehistoric and Roman periods.
The medieval features themselves are suggestive of both domestic and agricultural activity indicative of the presence of a small farmstead. It is interesting to note that the site has developed immediately adjacent to a medieval funeral route that ran across the field from Teynham to the parish church of Lynsted. Most of the features are formed by linears, some of which are clearly ditches – others are gullies or beam-slots. Interspersed with the linears are a variety of pits, most used for the disposal of domestic rubbish though at least one is a cess pit. A hollow in the centre of the site may be the remains of a pond. There is also a hollow-way running north-west to south-east across the site.
South of this, activity becomes more scattered and largely reflects the wider medieval agricultural landscape. The majority of the features are ditches, generally forming field boundaries though one pair may form the line of a drove-way.
The finds assemblage is dominated by pottery with bone not surviving well due to the underlying soil conditions. Preliminary spot-dating of the pottery suggests a twelfth- to fourteenth-century date. One sherd may be of an earlier Anglo-Saxon date and a loomweight, identified amongst a spread of domestic material, appears to be of a similar date. It will be interesting to see whether full analysis of the pottery confirms an Anglo-Saxon presence.
Our thanks are extended to Wienerberger PLC for funding the archaeological works and to Wendy Rogers of KCC for her assistance on site. Acknowledgement should also be paid to the hardworking fieldstaff who have been digging on ground that has baked solid in the belated summer sun.
James Holman, Laura O’Shea and Ross Lane