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Building a settlement at Thanet Parkway (Part 2)

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

As our excavation continues we are finding more evidence of the late Iron Age and Roman settlement that once covered the site.

Sonia is excavating a large millstone in a large pit with rounded flints
Millstones for grinding grain

We know from the finds and features that the community living here were primarily farmers. There is an extensive network of field boundaries extending away from the buildings and we know from our millstone discovery that they were grinding grain. As yet we don't know what grains exactly, but we hope that our environmental samples will give us some answers later in the post-excavation process.

13 pale green glass beads lie against a black background. They are around 1.5cm in diameter.
Roman glass beads

But these people weren't 'just farmers'. Their homes were certainly not fancy, but they had an impressive collection of personal belongings which implies they had disposable income to spend on some of the finer things in life. Glass beads and expensive tableware have been amongst some of the finds recovered from the site.

A complete samien dish. It is a red-orange colour and around 15 cm in diameterproximatly
A Samien dish

Not only are these finds telling us that the people living here had money to spend, but some of these items come from outside of Britain. Samien pottery, a high status pottery in the early Roman period, comes from Gaul (France) where it was manufactured on an industrial scale. Our farming community on the Isle of Thanet would have been perfectly placed to benefit from cross-channel trade links, even before the Roman's arrived.

As the excavation and the post-excavation progresses we will get a better idea of when the settlement was abandoned. We know it has Iron Age origins, maybe even earlier, but no Anglo-Saxon evidence has been found yet. The inhabitants would have witnessed the 55/54BC invasion attempts by Julius Caesar, the AD43 arrival of the Roman fleet, and the construction of Richborourgh fort....but how long this settlement was inhabited into the Roman period is still a mystery.


Thanet Parkway is to be a new railway station on the Ashford International-Ramsgate line. Details on the proposed station can be found on the Kent County Council website here. The archaeological work at Thanet Parkway is being managed by the WSP Cultural Heritage and Archaeology team. If you would like to ask a question about the excavation please email us using the contact form on our main page or by leaving a comment here. Questions about the station and project can be raised with KCC from their website here.

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