Full details of the Medieval Canterbury Weekend are now available on the Canterbury Christ Church University website
Tickets: £10.00 per event, FCAT members £8.00 per event
“Formidable”, “Fantastique”, “Incroyable”, were typical responses among the hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors who enjoyed seeing and hearing about the reconstruction of the Dover Bronze Age boat at this popular marine festival held at Boulogne. The festival’s full programme of activities associated with marine culture stretched around the Quai Gambetta and Napoleon dock keeping the many local Boulonnais and tourists entertained. Fête de la Mer is a biannual event attracting typically hundreds of thousands of visitors over its five days with live music, demonstrations and displays, sea trips and opportunities to try all manner of sea foods.
On this occasion, at the seventh Fête de la Mer to be staged, our role was to talk to the many visitors about the discovery of the Dover Bronze Age boat, the building and voyages of the experimental reconstruction and the associated project, Boat 1550 BC. The boat attracted huge interest with people genuinely in awe of the diverse skills of our Bronze Age ancestors – and of those who built the replica! We did a fine job of engaging the French, Swiss, Dutch and Belgian visitors and the two non-native French speakers in our small team had loads of opportunity to practice spoken French during the 10 hour days. Peter and Marion are now fluent in talking about willow withies and beeswax – pas de problème!
This was the first time the replica boat had been back to Boulogne since it was the centrepiece of the exhibition ‘Beyond the Horizon’ in the Chateau-Musée back in 2012. It was a great pleasure to meet up once again with our colleagues Angélique, Séverine, Dominique and Laurent with whom we had worked so hard on staging the exhibition. They were thrilled to have the boat back for a few days, now a battered and worn working boat quite different to the pristine exhibit that was on show in the museum! It was most heart-warming to see that the spirit of camaraderie and international co-operation is still alive and well even after the end of the BOAT 1550 BC project!
The Fête was organised by the Town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, the Conseil Régional de Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the Conseil Général de Pas-de-Calais.
We have been sent the programme [PDF] for Gesoriacum/Bononia, between land and sea, a conference taking place in Boulogne, 24th and 25th September. Andrew Richardson’s paper, ’The view from the bay: exchange, production and settlement at East Wear Bay, Folkestone, during the late Iron Age and Roman periods’ will undoubtedly include findings from new work at the villa. The East Wear Bay Archaeological Field School starts today!
Jake has just returned to the office after a busy week in the Westgate Gardens. He reports:
‘We had another fantastic community dig, based around Watling Street as it runs through Westgate Gardens. More than 25 volunteers helped a small team from the Trust over the weekend, including our friends from Texas State University, as well as our metal-detecting colleagues. On Saturday morning we had a “Little Dig”, with 45 children taking part (with ages ranging from 2 to 10!) accompanied by 30 assorted parents, grandparents and carers.
Over the five days, which included the Westgate Parks Open Day on Saturday, we managed to talk to over 500 interested visitors to the dig.
Many more Roman coins, potsherds, tiles and other finds were recovered during this year’s excavation, and we now have a far clearer understanding of this late Iron Age fording point, early Romano-British occupation along Watling Street, and late Roman activity just outside the wall (built c 270–290). We have high hopes that post-excavation work in the coming months will bring this story to life in ever greater detail.’
The community dig begun last year is set to continue over the weekend 11-12 July. If you, or someone you know, is interested you can book a place by contacting Jake Weekes (email@example.com).
Public sessions will take place as follows:
Saturday : 10am to 12.30pm (reserved for accompanied children)
Saturday : 1pm to 4pm
Sunday : 10am to 12.30pm
Sunday : 1pm to 4pm.
Friends of the Westgate Parks and Westgate Parks volunteers will be helping out throughout with people on site from Thursday afternoon until Tuesday afternoon. It is hoped that more of the Roman road will be uncovered and we’ll report back next week!
The replica Bronze Age boat is making three appearances in July. If you are in Faversham on the 4th you’ll find the boat at Town Quay as part of the Faversham Nautical Festival. The following week the boat will cross the channel (by ferry!) to join in celebrations at Boulogne’s Fete de la Mer on July 11th. Then on Saturday 25th July ‘Ole Crumlin Pedersen’ will be back on home waters at Dover Regatta. Come down and speak to the team, or have a paddle yourself!
UPDATE: CHANGE OF DATE FOR DOVER REGATTA. NOW SUNDAY 30 AUGUST.
The largest archaeological dig to take place in Dover for 20 years has just begun. The excavation, at Woolcomber Street, is the first in a series that will take place in advance of redevelopment of the St James’s area of the town. Keith Parfitt is leading the team in Dover and is going to keep us informed of progress as work progresses. Over to you Keith!
From the 5th to 7th June Canterbury Archaeological Trust along with the Dover Archaeological Group and Folkestone Archaeological Group will be carrying out a small archaeological dig in the car park of Kearsney Abbey to help uncover the hidden heritage of the parks.
The current cafe is all that remains of a large country house that used to be the focal point of Kearsney Abbey and the current parkland formed the private garden for the house. Most of the house was demolished in the 1950s and although there are a few pictures, as yet no plans or details about the inside are known.
The archaeological dig should provide an insight into the internal layout and will help to inform plans for a new extension to the cafe.
Preparatory work will begin on Friday 5th June and the archaeological work will take place on Saturday and Sunday.
For more details about the park and the Abbey, visit the Kearsney Parks website.
|Boat 1550 BC|
|Ename Heritage Centre|
|The Historical Association|
|The Festival of British Archaeology|
|Canterbury Heritage Museum|
|Centre for Research in Kent History and Archaeology|
|A Town Unearthed: Folkestone before 1500|
|Kent Archaeological Society|
|White Cliffs Countryside Partnership|
|Wye Rural Museum Trust|