Prehistoric archaeology in Kent stretches back to the time when the UK was connected to mainland Europe by the land bridge known as Doggerland. When the English Channel was formed (around 11,500 years ago) it became the closest point to cross the channel to mainland Europe. Despite prehistoric people being talented seafarers, the dangerous waters of the North Sea and English Channel would have made crossing the sea incredibly risky. Even so, we have evidence to suggest the people living in Kent had more in common with the people living on mainland Europe than with the people living in the rest of the UK.
To fully understand what life was like during this time we have to draw on archaeological evidence, science, experimental archaeology, research, and anthropology to form our understanding. New discoveries are being made all the time, and what we thought we knew about this period is constantly evolving.
CAT Projects and Discoveries
Hippos in Herne Bay (125,000 years old)
Fragments of fossil bones and teeth of very large animals dating to the Pleistocene period were discovered at our 2017 excavation at Herne Bay Golf Club. At least two hippos are represented, including a young individual, and fragments of elephant ivory and part of a rhinoceros tooth have also been identified.
For further information click here.
Ringlemere Cup (Bronze Age - 1950BC-1750BC)
The Ringlemere Cup was found by a metal detectorist in Woodnesbourgh, Sandwich, in 2001. The site was excavated by CAT between 2003-2006 uncovering complex archaeology from the Mesolithic to the Early Anglo-Saxon period. The cup is on display at the British Museum. Further information about the cup can be found on the British Museum website here and information on the excavation can be found here.
© The Trustees of the British Museum
Dover Boat (Bronze Age - 1500BC)
The Boat was found in 1992 during the construction of the pedestrian underpass under the A20 in Dover. 9.5 metres of the boat was lifted, conserved, and it is currently on display in Dover Museum.
Further information on the story of the boat can be found here.
Snodland Sword Moulds
The Meads, Sittingbourne
The Meads, Sittingbourne
Thanet Earth (Neolithic to Anglo-Saxon)
Running for over a year between 2007 and 2008 Thanet Earth is the biggest project undertaken by CAT. At 47 hectares the sheer scale of this project was exceptional, allowing the recording of landscape development over a period of some 9,000 years.
Further information can be found here.