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Canterbury: a bustling and industrious city of human activity

The project

The Beaney, Canterbury: 2009–2010

The archaeological investigations conducted to the rear of The Beaney took place in an area of high archaeological potential due to the proximity of one of the main thoroughfares of the Roman town and the probable location of the forum and basilica. In the event, the excavation revealed a complex stratigraphic sequence more than of 2.5m deep, representing activity in the area from the Roman conquest up to the present day.

What did we find?

Of all the fascinating discoveries made at this site, it is perhaps the evidence from the Roman period that provides the most tangible vision of life in this area. Here, early timber structures were replaced around the end of the first century by a substantial masonry building.

Around the end of the second century, this building was demolished, and a range of timber structures was constructed. Evocative finds, such as a gemstone intaglio (below) depicting Cupid, found in association with metalworking waste, conjure images of a workshop where jewellery was perhaps being broken up and recycled. Nearby, the remains of an oven were discovered.

This must have been a bustling industrious area at the heart of the Roman town.


Visitors can go to The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge and the Canterbury Roman Museum and learn more about Canterbury’s past.

For more information also go to:

Or you can purchase An Historic Map of Canterbury: From Roman Times to 1907. Available from bookshops and online outlets for only £9.99.

ISBN: 9780993469886

Publisher: The Historic Towns Trust

In partnership with Canterbury Archaeological Trust and Canterbury Christ Church University.

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